Saturday, August 30, 2008

9 Months Old!

Julia had a full-fledged birthday celebration for her 9 month birthday! She had her 9 month well baby check up yesterday with Dr. Beth. She weighs 19 pounds and is incredibly tall....I forgot the measurement. She is still in the 95 percentile on her height, somewhere between 50th and 75 percentile on her weight (moving up considering she has been in the 50th until now!), and in the 25th percentile on her head circumference. That translates to mean that she is tall, relatively skinny, and has a tiny head. But beautiful, nonetheless. Dr. Beth mentioned her beautiful "tan" skin and until now, I thought she was just lucky and got John's beautiful skin. Dr. Beth corrected me and told me that it was more than likely a result of the carrots and squash in her diet. When we were driving home from the doctor, it occurred to me how grateful I am to be taking Julia to a WELL baby check-up. We are so lucky.

John got to be a rock star again last night, so the Bonady's came over and celebrated Julia's 9 month milestone. She had fun playing with everybody. The celebration continued this morning when my Dad insisted on taking us to breakfast at Colby's. Julia even had a gift from her grandparents at breakfast...a Dr. Seuss book and a toy. Julia is LOVING books lately. She even laughs at one of them that has some flaps that open. I think that she thinks they are playing her favorite game....peek a boo.

John and I watched a pretty fascinating movie over the past 2 nights: "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." I don't know where he comes up with all of these, but we both loved the movie, even though it was incredibly sad. We talked a lot about it afterwards and we want to read the book that the movie is based on. I love a movie/book/play/musical that gives us a few good discussion topics! John even said that he fought back some tears......but don't tell anyone.

Good cousin Scottie and Jason got engaged this week!!!! I am so happy for Scottie! She grew up in Earle and we spent a lot of time together as kids. Some of my best childhood memories are in Earle with Scottie and the whole Watson crew. She lives in NYC now and met a great guy from there. I am so happy for them! I hope this means that we get to head to my favorite city for a wedding soon!

Julia enjoying her favorite snack, a Baby Mum Mum

Julia looking for a piece of dirt on the floor so that she can put it in her mouth.

Julia being a ham and entertaining everyone.

Julia eating the toast of Mom's plate at Colby's at her 9 month old birthday celebration.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Julia has learned to sing, yes sing, E-I-E-I. She hasn't quite gotten the O yet, but she sings the first part in her best soprano tone.

This week was supposed to be Julia's first week at the sitter's house on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, but she hasn't been yet. Tuesday, Ms. Melinda was out of town and this morning my cell phone rang at 6:45. It was her mom telling us that she was very sick. I stayed home until Sarah could get out here to keep Julia while John was at class. Thank goodness for backup family!

Today, Becca and I talked about kids birthday parties. We are both in the same boat about really not wanting people to feel "obligated" to bring presents to parties. She was debating putting "No Gifts Please" on Sol's invitation. I convinced her that people want to buy a gift and want to bring it to the party...that is just part of the tradition. We decided jointly that we were going to adopt a policy and market the idea to all of our friends. How about if we put a cap of $10 on birthday gifts or encourage friends to donate to their favorite charity in their honor? Of course, this excludes grandparents who are welcome to bring on the Barbie corvettes and $1,000 savings bonds whenever they deem necessary! :)

My favorite part of the day is to come home from work. Julia can hear me when I open the door and can hear my heels on the hardwood floors coming down the hall. She is SO happy to see me and screams and starts crawling really fast towards me. She gets tired a little more than half way, so I usually meet her halfway. She gives the sweetest hugs and I just squeeze her as hard as she will let me! Today, my parents were here visiting when I got home. They don't get much time with her after I get home because I can hardly let her go.

When I lay Julia down for her late afternoon nap, this is what I come back in to find. As soon as I lay her down, she starts shifting around so that she can get in a position to stand up in her bed. The only problem is that she doesn't know how to lay back down. She gets stuck standing there and cries for me to come back to get her to lay her down again. Tuesday when I went in, the cupcake mobile was mangled up and three of the four cupcakes were off the mobile and laying in her bed. One of those was soaking wet from her having a taste! I guess it's time to take the the cute cupcake mobile down.
No hurry though....that means it's saying goodbye to one more baby thing.

Monday, August 25, 2008

So I WIll Believe It....

Julia LOVES broccoli! We have had it for dinner a couple of times and I always give her some on her tray. Last night, she ate about 6 big pieces and had it all over her. I thought I would post her picture because I know there will come a time in the near future when we are begging her to eat her broccoli!

Last week, we were calling Julia "turtle" because she crawls so slow. This week, we are begging her to slow down! She is moving so fast and of course, wants to touch everything that she "shouldn't" be touching. For example, with a hundred toys in the floor to choose from, Julia will head straight for the lamp cord to put in her mouth. She has a strong preference for all electrical cords. She stays very busy and we are finding that "running to the bathroom" for a minute is truly no longer an option.
Here are the hundreds of toys that Julia has to choose from. This is the view into our living room from upstairs. I have hesitated to post this picture because people who know me well are falling on the floor laughing right now. I swore that I wouldn't be one of those moms who let the toys take over the house. I promised myself that all toys would stay neatly stashed in the baby's room in a toy box. Yeah, right.

Today, we got our final landscaping plans drawn out by some local girls who do decorating consults. I love their ideas and just needed a vision to make this all happen. It will be a huge undertaking, but I think we are up for the challenge. The first order of business will be our new driveway that gives us access to the basement and front door. I will post some before and after pictures soon. I am afraid that the "after" pics may be up in about 5 years!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Julia Ate Meat and Other Random Stuff

Julia ate meat for the first time this week. We had a jar of chicken and broccoli stashed away in the cabinet and John gave it to Julia for lunch this week. He says that she was not too crazy about it. I have been holding off on giving her meat because she is so perfectly content with her vegetables, rice cereal and fruit (she LOVES applesauce!).

We also visited Ms. Melinda who will be keeping Julia on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for three hours while John is at school. She seems like a really nice girl and has kids at her house. A lot of my friends swear by her and say that there is no one better. I broke out in a cold sweat when we visited just because I have never had to take Julia somewhere and drop her off on a consistent basis. We know that she will do fine and it will be good for her to play with other kids. School starts this week for John and her first day there will be Thursday. I have been so spoiled not to have to get up and get her out before I go to work. I am hoping for a smooth transition!

John is being a rock star tonight at a country club golf tournament. Julia and I are looking forward to a "Girl's Night In!" I am happy that John is playing music and has a lot of stuff on the music agenda....he needs his fix. He will be taking 12 hours this semester and once again, he is in for a challenge. I never thought that I would be talking about John being a college student. Life takes some interesting turns and this opportunity is one that I am so grateful for. It has allowed him to stay at home with Julia and get paid to go to school. A great arrangement ....and perfect timing that Julia came along right at the time he had the chance to do this.

The Bonady family came over to visit this morning and to bring Julia her Saturday morning garage sale find. A guitar that makes real guitar noises. John could not be happier with this treasure!

Pretty Julia with the orange nose. I guess I need to lighten up on the carrots in her diet! She still loves this Johnny Jumper that hangs from the door.

Shawnie came over this afternoon and hung out with us. Julia enjoyed sticking her hand in Shawnie's mouth. I have no idea why???? We miss our girl Shawnie!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Best Night of Julia's Life

Becca and Neall called us Tuesday night and asked us if we would like to go to see Sesame Street Live in Jonesboro at the Convocation Center Wednesday night. My first instinct was of course not, she is 8 months old! But then when I really thought about it, I couldn't think of much else that I would rather do on a Wednesday night. So, off we went. The Bradshaws went too and Beth even brought Katie, who is not quite 2 months old! I figured we would be lucky to be there for 20 minutes or so, but Julia absolutely loved it. She had a great time. Her eyes were glued to the stage for most of the show. She got a little restless about 5 minutes before the show was over, and so we made an early exit. Sol fell asleep about 10 minutes before the end of the show and so they left a little early. I thought it was really funny when Beth leaned over and told me that Linton (her 2 year old) has resorted to head butting and they thought it was time to go too. One trick that I learned was to keep some snacks close to Julia the entire time which kept her busy and kept her attention. She ate about 50 cheerios!

Julia thanked John and I profusely all the way home and we ended the night by her telling us that it was, by far, the best night of her life. So thanks, Neall and Becca for thinking of us. This was definitely a night for making memories.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mamma Mia! Here I Go Again.....

John and I got to have a date tonight and we went to see Mamma Mia, the movie. Julia stayed with my parents who were thrilled to have her visit. My obsession with the musical started 3 years ago when I was in NYC. We stood in line to pay cash for cheap Broadway tickets without any plans on what we wanted to see. We ended up with great seats to Mamma Mia for a Sunday matinee at the Winter Park Theater on Broadway. This was my first, and best Broadway experience. I have seen a lot of musicals since then, and I have to say that this one was/is by far my favorite. My Aunt Jane and Scottie met me at the musical and I will never forget what it felt like when the show was over and the doors opened to a beautiful Sunday afternoon in NYC. My senses were in overdrive!!!

I immediately bought the CD and I have loved it ever since. I skip through other songs on my ipod to get to these. With that behind me, I was a little biased on the movie. LOVED the music and it took all I had to sit still in my seat and to not sing really loud. I was swallowing "lumps of cry" when the mom was singing "Slipping Through My Fingers" to her daughter who was about to get married.

Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time.
Slipping through my fingers all the time, I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time.

Aside from the music, the movie left a lot to be desired. Poor was a chick flick if there ever was one. He says that he did enjoy the scenery. And a drum roll for the sweetest John comment of the night. When we got in the car, he said, "When Meryl sang that song to her daughter when she was getting dressed for her wedding, it made me want to go get Julia." We are trying really hard to "capture every minute!"

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Julia+a great book+hottub+a movie= Totally nonproductive

I love a weekend when I have no plans and I don't even get in the car at least one of the two weekend days. I didn't finish the laundry or do anything that others might consider, constructive. I did, however, immerse myself in a great book called, "Loving Frank." It's a historical fiction book about Frank Lloyd Wright and I am loving it! You know it's good when I took it to read in the car on the way to my parent's house tonight! (No, I wasn't driving.)

We watched The Bucket List, but I thought it was a little too Nicholas Sparks-ish. I liked the premise of the movie....things you want to do before you die, but that was about all that I liked about it. John and I had big plans to go to see Momma Mia tonight and my mom even skipped church to keep Julia for us while we went. We dropped Julia off and pulled into the movie to see a sign on the front that said, "Momma Mia is not playing." They said that some pipes bursted and there was water in that side of the theater. So, we went straight back and picked up Julia and went to Wal-Mart instead. Fun.

The weather has been cool enough to enjoy the hot tub at night. It puts us all in a relaxed state of mind and I am looking forward to some cooler nights.

Julia is a hand full these days. She is so busy and I cannot take my eyes off of her for one second. The days of setting her down in one spot and coming back for her in that same spot are long gone. She is a girl on the move and likes to touch everything. Her favorite "toys" are usually things that are not toys at all. She has tons of toys on the rug in the living room and will end of playing with the rug or some other non-toy.
This is Julia's new kitchen which was the Saturday morning garage sale find of the day. I don't think my Mom has missed too many sales. Almost every Saturday, she finds Julia some things that she can't live without!

Julia and her Dad taking a before dinner stroll around the yard.

Unfortunately, this is what happens when you live in the Delta and take before dinner strolls.....mosquito bites!

Friday, August 15, 2008

An Image for the Day...

Julia has gotten into the habit of crying when I lay her down for bed at night. We have been so lucky with her sleeping habits until now, I guess I had it coming! I have always been able to lay her down awake and she just curls up with her baby doll or stuffed rabbit and sucks her fingers and goes right to sleep. Lately, regardless of how sleepy she is, she immediately sits up in her bed and cries really hard for as long as she needs to. This explains why she has been sleeping in the pancake position! It's because she cries sitting up and eventually gets so tired that she just falls asleep sitting up and falls forward on the bed. I always have to go in and flip her legs out from under her! John and I made a pact not to pick her up and put her in our bed but to instead let her cry it out as long as it didn't last too long. Her cry time is getting shorter every night and last night it only lasted for about 3 minutes. So, it seems to be working and I am so glad....because I HATE to see her cry!
Yesterday, when I came home for lunch she was napping. When I peeked in, this is what I saw...

It took all I had not to go in there and squeeze that little foot!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The World Travelers

John, Julia and I took a road trip to Little Rock yesterday and spent the night there since I had an early morning meeting in town today. We used Priceline to get a motel room for a decent price and ended up on Shackelford at a good place for $45. I have never been disappointed in a room that Priceline has given me! We went to the zoo, ate sushi at Igibon's, and had a great time. We took Julia shopping at the mall and she never ceases to amaze me with her good mood and sweet spirit. She napped yesterday for a whopping 45 minutes all day and would cat nap in the car for 5 minutes or so before we would wake her up and drag her along to the next store. She is such a trooper!

Today, the meetings that I attended were for the Board members of the community foundation and a producer for the Today show and MSNBC news correspondent was the speaker. He was excellent and talked a lot about public relations and the media. I learned a lot and can relate all of what he talked about to my real job, in addition to the "volunteer" work that I do.
A side note...on the way home, we stopped at Sonic to get my vanilla diet coke and John ordered a fried ice cream blast for himself(this was in Cabot.) When we got to Bald Knob maybe 30 minutes later, John slammed on the brakes (I thought we were about to have a wreck,) and pulled in the Bulldog restaurant to get himself a Strawberry Shortcake. He is the only person alive that can eat like this! This was after he had an entire pizza and half of my salad at US Pizza for lunch.

Julia had a great view of all the animals at the zoo. She spent most of her time patting John on the head.

Aren't apes weird? I could have stared at this guy for hours!

The truth is that John and I probably enjoyed the animals at the zoo more than Julia....but she still has fun wherever she goes.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

More Proud Than Ever To Be an American!

Did you watch the Olympics opening ceremony last night? One word.....WOW! I don't know how it could ever be topped by any city. Beijing put on a beautiful show and I will not soon forget it. I was so proud to be an American! I also learned alot about other countries and realized how terrible my knowledge of world geography is. There were so many places that I had never even heard of. It also reminded me of how small my world is in the bigger scheme of things. There are so many other cultures, religions, and ethnicity's in the world that I would love to know more about. I am going to try really hard to teach Julia about people who are different from us so that she can think more globally!

This morning, we went to Linton's 2nd birthday at the John Hayden Smith park. This park will always have a special place in my heart because I got to know John Hayden's parents, Johnny and April Smith about 5 years ago when they were raising money to build this park in memory of their precious son John Hayden who died in a tragic accident. I helped them to write several grants to get the walking trail, signs, and other pieces of the park. I was so happy to be there this morning with Julia to enjoy the park and appreciated all of the hard work their family did to make the park a reality. It is beautiful and I know that we will be spending a lot of time there in the future!

Linton is Drs. Stan and Beth Bradshaw's son. He loves Thomas the Train and that was the theme of today's party. The weather was perfect and the kids had a blast!

This is one of my favorite ladies, Ms. Bradshaw (Linton's great-grandmother). Ms. Bradshaw is on the Chamber Board with me and also serves on the Hospital auxiliary. She is a great community leader and such a neat lady. I am so glad that I have gotten to know her better. Julia seems to like sitting on her knee!

Loving the swing!

Birthday boy Linton (standing in the while shirt) blowing out the candles.

Sol feeding the bird Julia some Baby Mum Mum's. One of Julia's favorite treats. Sol was so nice to share.

From left to right...Stella Smith, JGracchus and Caroline Shaver, Sol, and Julia sitting on a blanket in the shade.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Work That Does Some Good.....

Today, I taught a class at the hospital called Safesitter. The class was founded in 1980 by a pediatrician out of Indianapolis whose coworkers child died from choking while in the care of a babysitter. It's a great class and teaches 11-17 year old kids how to be better and safe sitters. I became an instructor a couple of weeks ago after a lengthy certification process that teaches me how to teach the class.

We had seven girls today take the class and I think it went really well. I enjoyed so much being with these girls and seeing them learn and interact. It was rather fascinating....much better than a reality show, I think. My favorite question of the day was, "How old are you when you are born?" How interesting.....think on that one for a second.

The question I asked myself after passionately teaching these girls how to be a safesitter for 6 hours today was, "Would I have ever initiated this training and taught this class before Julia?" The answer is definitely no. I am ashamed to say I never cared too much about stuff that involved kids/babies before her. Now, I cannot think of a better way to spend a day at work. Hopefully, there are 7 great babysitters floating around Cross County after today. And, one better teacher who learned alot too.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A First That I Am NOT So Proud Of

Well, we all survived our first trauma. Julia is fine....before I go any further! Last night, John cooked my favorite dinner for my birthday (grilled salmon). We had just sat down to eat when I put some mango on Julia's highchair tray for her to eat. I got up to grab something in the kitchen and heard the worst crash I have ever heard. The next thing I heard was John SCREAMING a grouping of very ugly words that I don't care to post, nor remember for that matter, and then Julia's bone chilling cry. Her highchair tray had come loose and she fell head first to the ground. She hit my dining room chair on the way down. John had picked her up and put her to his shoulder before I could get there. I looked her over and saw some blood on her face and hands. It was terrifying trying to figure out where the blood was coming from. Come to find out, she had split her lip and it immediately grew to four times its normal size. She also has some scratches between her mouth and nose. She cried and whimpered for about 20 minutes, while I hyperventilated and felt my central nervous system shutting down. Needless to say, neither of us ate a bite of supper.
I gave Julia a dose of Tylenol and got her some ice to suck on. She loves to suck her fingers to comfort herself and of course, she couldn't do that because her mouth hurt so bad. She would scream every time she put her fingers in her mouth. Amazingly, about an hour after the fall, she seemed to be getting back to normal and even ate dinner and had a bottle before bed. The swelling went way down overnight and except for the scratches, you wouldn't know anything happened.
Things I learned from this:
1. They don't put those what I used to think were ridiculous 5 point harnesses in baby stuff for looks. Poor Julia will be 19 and still be strapped in whatever chair she happens to be sitting in.
2. What it feels like to have a nervous breakdown.
3. Chocolate no bake cookies only made me feel better temporarily.....they were not a long-term fix.
4. It's a good thing to keep Valium and a nice bottle of wine at home for parents to resort to when things like this happen.
5. Babies are incredibly resilient.
6. Busted lips appear much worse than they are.
7. Lips heal very quickly.
8. This could have been much worse!
9. John handles trauma with much more grace than I do.
The damage, 24 hours later. She doesn't seem to be too affected!
This was how I found Julia sleeping yesterday afternoon. Her legs were straight out in front of her and her tummy was flat on the bed. She was fast asleep. OUCH! We used to call this a "pancake" back in the day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Truly, A Happy Birthday!

Sweet girl!

So far, today has been a great birthday! I am at home for lunch, and John is at class taking his last final for the semester. We are both ready for him to get a break from school!
First, I was on the radio this morning talking about a new babysitting class that we are offering at the hospital and they were doing the birthday calendar while I was there. Out of 26 other people who were having birthdays today, I was the lucky winner of a cappuccino. Then, when I get to work, I get paged to the front office where I walk in and everyone starts singing happy birthday. The girls in the front office brought stuff to eat and it was all delicious. To top it all off, when I came home for lunch and rounded the corner to see Julia, she crawled faster than I have ever seen her to where I was standing. Then she looked up at me and gave me a HUGE smile! Before John left for class, he told me that he had the salmon that he was going to cook me for dinner in the refrigerator thawing. Wow....can it get any better than that?

Julia has had a lot of "firsts" in the past couple of days. Thought I would list some. First time to:
1. Ride a toy
2. Be able to crawl from room to room. This mobility changes everything! We can't leave her alone for one second.
3. Eat ice and a leaf of spinach.
4. Drink correctly out of a sippy cup.
5. To pull up on the railing of her crib and was standing when I went in to get her!
6. Sit on the kitchen floor and play on the floor while I am cooking dinner (she used to sit in her Bumbo chair on the bar, but she is too big for that now!)
7. Say Da-da....he is so extremely proud!

As always, things are getting to be more and more fun around our house.
Truly, a Happy Birthday.

Julia after crawling from her room across the hall into the laundry room where I was folding clothes.

Julia's knee with carpet burn after a busy day of crawling.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Whose Birthday Is It Anyway?

Today, Mom and Dad had us over to cook lunch and celebrate my birthday that is later this week. This is my first birthday lunch to get to share with Julia and I think that my parents just used my birthday as an excuse to have us over and get to see Julia. She is definitely the star of the show! My Mom went garage saling this morning and yesterday and bought Julia about 10 new toys. I think her favorite was the little car that she can sit on and is learning how to maneuver. We got to bring it home and she has been making her way on the living room hardwood floors (the 562ND thing we swore we wouldn't do.....let our child ride her toys all over the house and scratch up the floors, ha!)

I am so grateful to have her....she makes everything fun. And besides, when you hit the mid-thirties and Julia is in the room, what birthday?