Growing and Growing…

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Sunday was the 1 year mark from when my Dad passed away. It seems so surreal to me that he has been gone an entire year – and it actually feels like he has been gone much longer. So much has happened over the last year – and Bella has grown so much, it just feels like more than a year to me. I’m not really the type to remember “death” anniversaries. I find myself thinking about the loved ones that I’ve lost at random times – like when I hear the song, “Breakfast at Tiffanys” or “No Woman, No Cry” – I think of Lara or in January around her Birthday, I feel like I’m forgetting to call somebody…I reminisce about NaNa and how she would come and stay with us during high school, and take Chrissie and I on special trips to Louisiana, and about how we shared a room on the cruise to Alaska. When I hear “Mama’s little baby loves Shortening” or sing other silly songs to Bella, I think of my GranDaddy. None of these things are really remembered items from the days of their death – and I really kind of like it that way. With Dad – I feel like reminders pop up so often, that I am officially going to try to forget this particular day on my calendar. I would rather remember his Birthday, or the trips we took, or the happy moments we shared, than a crappy day that reminds me he is no longer here.

Despite that, I was in a bit of a funk on Sunday morning, but I was determined to get myself out of it. I stuck to my normal routine and took Bella to our local Farmer’s market and then we really ended up having a really nice afternoon with friends. Rick and Sharon had a company pool party and we headed over to enjoy their delicious spread (Bella’s comment about the roast was “MMMMmmm, MMMmmm, Mommy, I like this meat!), and take Bella for a swim. Bronwyn’s darling little girl, Isla was there – and Bella had a great time snuggling and loving on her. (Good practice for when she becomes a big sis!) She loved swimming in their pool, and has been getting so brave in the water (ducking her head under regularly on purpose)…I decided last week she needed to start swim lessons (so I can feel a little “braver” about her bravery!).

Today was our first lesson. She absolutely loved it! She held her breath for 10 seconds under the water while the teacher pulled her around the pool, learned about kicking, pushing off the side of the pool, back floating, and even big arms. She was SUPER excited when Jeremy showed up to watch the lesson as well. I think she tried twice as hard once she saw he was watching too. The teacher said she really did great – and that she thought she’d get the hang of it in no time. I’m absolutely thrilled that she genuinely seemed to be having a good time…To me, swimming is such an important safety skill to learn – especially living so close to the water, but also, I have so many fond memories of my childhood spending time in the pool, that I can only hope she’ll have some of the same.

Photos…finally photos

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I’ve been meaning to upload photos, so here goes. The first one is from a family photo session we did with our friend Renee at the botanical gardens. We all got haircuts (it was Bella’s first, and she was a champ!), new outfits and coordinated the schedule…brought balloons, music, flowers…but Bella was not into smiling for the camera 🙁 – go figure, toddlers just have minds of their own. I haven’t seen all the shots yet, but I’ll post some more when I get them. The rest of these are from Christmas.

First Family Vacation

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I’d say all in all our first family vacation was a huge hit. We went to Sayulita, Mexico – which is about an hour north of Puerta Vallarta. It was a great way to spend a week relaxing and a very mellow first vacation for Bella. We rented a great little house north of town with our neighbors, Phil & Kirsten and their son, Owen. The house was in a little complex with a shared pool, all of which looked out to the beach. Walk into town was about 5 mins by beach or dirt road – and the town was very family friendly – tons of family tourists, and it felt very safe and welcoming. Probably the only hiccup on our trip was that Jeremy got sick 🙁 – Mexico is never friendly to his tummy ) – fortunately, he was only sick for a couple of days. The locals were friendly, and mellow, and the restaurants were plentiful with great Mexican seafood. Bella was an excellent traveler, as usual. She did decide to wake up around 5 am every morning, though – but it didn’t really surprise me all that much considering her naptime and feeding routines were nonexistant most of the week. She had quite a few firsts during the trip – first time in a pool, first time in a boat, first time getting a kiss from a cute boy (you should have seen the way Owen leaned in for her – cocking his head to the side – it was absolutely priceless, if only I could have gotten it on film!!) She loved the pool. The first day, she clung to me a bit, but she was definitely happy and curious about playing in the water – but by the second day, we tried Owen’s ring float. She leaned back like an adult would, just lounging in the crystal blue water – she OWNED that pool :). She was totally at ease, and enjoying every minute. The boat rides mostly just lulled her to sleep. The highlight of our trip was on Jeremy’s birthday – we took a 30 minute boat ride to a secluded beach near Punta Mita, where we snorkeled in clear water (and saw all kinds of beautiful fish – even lobster and octopus!) and hung out on the soft white sand. Our boat captain/snorkel guide, Jose, was amazing – definitely a sea lover. Jeremy caught a jackfish on the boatride home (which he made into some delicious ceviche that evening), and we even saw a baby humpback whale! What a day!!! It is one that I am sure that I will not forget.

Other “Bella” News –
She learned to really crawl the day before we left (of course!) and then really enjoyed practicing every day that we were there. She can crawl about 8 paces before tiring out and flopping onto her tummy – but she definitely gets the idea of the movement, and when she is determined to get to something, she goes straight for it. It is definitely going to take some getting used to for Jeremy and I – we really need to keep an eye on her now!! She also has a new tooth coming in (the top right one broke through yesterday, and the other one is definitely on its way. So – it was quite a big week for her. I think after all the excitement she is happy to be home. Getting back into her routine, and sleeping in her crib (she slept ALOT in my sling during the trip) during her naps will probably be a challenge as it usually is when we return from a long trip. I can tell that she is happy to be home and sleeping in her own crib though, already at night – she slept past 6 am the past two mornings! YEA!!! I’ll post video of crawling soon – but for now, enjoy the photos from our vacation.

Bella’s First Hike – WOW!

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What a great day! Days like today remind me why we live in Southern California. The weather was gorgeous, blue skies, 75 degrees…I’ve been dying to try this Torrey Pines hike trail close to our house since we moved in, and we thought it would be fun to put Bella in the backpack now that she is big enough. I CAN’T BELIEVE IT TOOK US TWO YEARS OF LIVING IN SAN DIEGO TO DO THIS!!!!! My only comfort about that is that I was pregnant for one of those years, which kind of gives us a little excuse. WOW – so beautiful. The water was soooooo clear today as well – and calm. In one of the pictures you can see a pod of dolphins swimming in the waves. The paddleboarders looked like they were having so much fun. My only regret was that we did not bring bathing suits and a board to paddle out on after the hike. The pictures speak louder than my words, so take a look. Visitors – this is an absolute must on your next trip out. Jeremy was a champ, carrying Bella through all the hard parts (he said he wanted a workout!) – I decided to try it out once we got to the beach. (BTW – WE LOVE THIS BACKPACK!!! THANKS KIM!!) Bella had a good time looking around, and then got a little tired, so she took a nap. (Good to know that she will do that – we weren’t sure what would happen since we knew the hike was going to go into her nap time). Enjoy the scenery!

Solid Foods, First Football Games – were moving fast already in ’09

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2009 has started with quite a few fun events.

Since Bella seemed like she was hungry all the time, and just not satisfied with only milk, last Saturday (the 3rd) we decided to see if she would like some rice cereal. We got all excited for the big event, and she pretty much just took it in stride like she does everything else. We brought the spoon to her mouth – she opened and swallowed it right up. She doesn’t seem to LOVE it, but she doesn’t dislike it either – it seems she just figured that was what she was supposed to do…I made some homemade baby food last night (sweet potato and butternut squash), and we’ll give her something different this Saturday to try. Right now, she eats about 2 oz of rice cereal every morning, and we’ll move that to the afternoon on Saturday and give her the new food during that time.

Bella also attended her first horns football game – and what a game it was!! We traveled out to Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl – TX vs. Ohio State (we won 24-21 with a clincher ending!). Jeremy and I stayed walking distance to the stadium. We walked over and tailgated for an hour or so before the game, and then met up with a couple of Jeremy’s clients for the big event. Bella was so good all day – she just hung out in the sling, slept during part of the game, and watched all the crazy fans the rest of the time. She has become quite the expert traveler as this was her third round trip flight in 3 months! Thanks to Dee Dee and Pa Pa for the tickets – we had a GREAT time!

Christmas Trip Photos – Finally!

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Sorry it took so long to post these….Enjoy!

Bella’s First Thanksgiving

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Bella had an awesome first Thanksgiving!! Bella was an excellent traveler – made it through an hour delay on the way there, and two hours delay (in flight) on the way back…mostly just sleeping. We got in late on Tuesday night and went to Aunt Sissy and Uncle Charlton’s house where she met all of her cousins over the next couple of days. My parents joined us, and we went to Central Park, and hung out at the playground on Wednesday – it was such a beautiful fall day. As usual, Bella was fascinated with the kiddos. That night we met up with Kevin at Matt’s El Rancho, and Bella slept the entire time, until the entire restaurant started with the Eyes of Texas Song…she immediately woke screaming…(Bella! This will be your favorite song someday…guess we’ve got to teach her a little bit more about her roots!!) Thursday, we had a wonderful meal at Chrissie’s house, and hung out with Mom, Dad, Kev, and all the Lairds. Friday, Jeremy and I drove out to New Braunfels to surprise Go-Go with her Great-Granddaughter…and I would say she was DEFINITELY surprised! It was awesome. Aunt Judy and Uncle Norman’s house there is just beautiful…it is so serene on the river, I could just sit and listen and watch it go by all day – the entire Neill/Hillegeist Family was there, and it was so nice to catch up and eat up the yummy leftovers from their Thanksgiving…Then we headed back to Dee Dee & Pa Pa’s house, where we relaxed, ate (MORE! I swear I gained 5 lbs this weekend!), watched football and hung out with the cousins. Bella even showed off for everyone rolling over a couple of times. I’m leaving out alot – but all in all – it was such a nice week! Very worth the effort heading out to TX and we are looking forward to going again in a few weeks for Christmas.

P.S. Last week she also started grabbing for things (ie – the beer in my hand! AH!) – her eye-hand coordination is definitely developing alot right now. I can hold a rattle over her head and she will reach for it and grab it with her hand (instead of raking at it and accidently getting it) Very cool to see her so excited when she gets at something she wants.

Bella & Kaelyn

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We went to OC this weekend to visit with Terri, Nate, Kaelyn and Jac. It was a great afternoon – Terri cooked up some fabulous burgers and brats and we just hung out. One of the things that was SO cool was seeing how much Bella and Kaelyn reacted to one another. When we first walked in the door, they both were just staring each other down in fascination and studying one another. Then, both were delighted, flirting and showing huge grins – it was great to see Bella be so thrilled with another baby…it was really the first time that she has ever noticed one, and her reaction will always be something I remember. I’m so excited to see these two grow up together – I know they will become great friends.

Bella Pics

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There really isn’t anything exciting to write about from this weekend – I just couldn’t leave the picture of Bella at her shots as the top post anymore! So – I took some pics today to show you how she has grown. These were right after her lunch – we were cooing at one another on the couch while Jeremy watched The Cowboys. It is getting harder to get smile shots of her, because she can see the camera now, and every time I pull it out she looks at it with lots of curiosity instead of smiling – but I was able to sneak a few…We’ve had a bit of a challenging week since the shots – she just hasn’t been acting like the same baby…very fussy, and having a very hard time getting her to eat. I’m hoping that it is just a side effect from all those vaccinations, and it will go away soon. Today seemed a little better – and we were able to get her back on her schedule (which always seems to make her a happier baby). Next weekend her uncle Kevin is coming to visit! I’m sure I’ll have some great pics of the two of them to post.