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.

Happy Holidays!

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img_26411As usual, the holidays have crept up on me – and I’ve been behind on everything, including the blog of course….but now I’m catching up. I think I am more in the Christmas spirit this year than I have been in years, mostly because of our darling daughter. We have a tree up (artificial…much to Jeremy’s dismay…but he is being sweet about my allergies…), and I’ve been playing the Christmas music channel in the house 24/7. For once, I’ve actually finished all of my Christmas shopping before we leave for Texas…and now I am just relishing the holiday festivities. We’ve gone to the img_26601botanical gardens twice (the first time we forgot a camera) for their Garden of Lights. They have Santa, beautiful lights, mulled wine, music, horse pulled wagons, marshmellow roasting…and even snow one of the nights we went. It is a perfect way to spend the evening and really get in the mood. Even though we have a Santa doll for Bella at home, and Kristine has taught her that Santa says, “Ho, Ho, Ho!” (it’s really funny) – she still just wouldn’t warm up to the big guy…but that is ok, she loved the horses and the snow – so I think that made up for us torturing her with the photo. I really want to make this our new Christmas tradition!

We’ve been letting Bella open presents that my mom has sent out early this year (as she doesn’t really understand Christmas yet). I think she likes the act of tearing open the wrapping paper just as much as the toys inside! It is going to be a really fun week… I really don’t have anything that I want for Christmas this year except good health for everyone in our families. We leave for Texas next week…and we are so fortunate to get to see our families during the holidays this year. Both my dad and Jer’s mom are dealing with cancer issues at the moment – so it is even more special to get to see them…Bella will definitely be able to bring some “Ho Ho Ho-liday Cheer” to the festivities…I feel like we have so much to be thankful for.

As usual, no Christmas Cards from the Neill Family…(one of these days I will get on top of that)…so right here, right now, I want to wish you Very Happy Holidays and Hope, Peace and Happiness for Your New Year!

I just downloaded some of the photos from our camera (some are from a few months back)…so I am going to post a few pics here too….

These are from our Central Coast Trip…the hike, then feeding the animals at Avila Valley Farms


This one is from when Grammy visited for Thanksgiving. She let Bella do some finger painting with pudding/whip cream…mmmmmmmmm yummy!

Annual Pumkin Carving 09

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Last night we had all the neighbors over for our annual pumpkin carving. I made a bunch of cupcakes and as we got all the kids on a big sugar high, and they began the task of cleaning out the pumpkins and carving scary faces (the parents did their fair share as well 🙂 )We roasted up the pumpkins seeds, and posed for a few photos in the yard- I’d say it was our best pumpkin carve yet! Even better, afterwards, the mommies of Calle De Madera decided to head out for sushi….what a nice break that was!! Yum…


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 Christmas Shots

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We had a great time in Texas over Christmas. It was so special to get to see all of the great-grandparents, and grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, extended family, and friends. We traveled to Austin, Temple, Athens and Houston. So much has been going on there is just too much to write, but I’ll give it a little try… Bella was her mellow wonderful self as usual during most of the travels. She was pretty clueless about the whole Christmas event, but she’s enjoying the new toys, and we enjoyed getting her all dressed up for it. I think the photos really tell the story of our trip, so I will post them in a photo gallery after I finish downloading them. Towards the end of the trip, I’m pretty sure that she started teething, as she is drooling tons and seemed a little fussier than usual. We are now back home for the new year, and trying to settle back into our old routine ( I haven’t gotten a full night sleep in over eight days – but each night we are getting closer, so I am trying to have some patience. 🙂  ) Bella is gnawing away at her teething rings, and there is so much drool, that I’m considering put a bib on full time, so I am hoping that a couple of teeth will pop up and give her a little relief soon. Over the holidays, she started putting her knees underneath her body when she was on her tummy – I think it is the beginning of her trying to learn to scoot. She is also babbling with alot more sounds. Most nights lately, she wakes on her tummy trying to practice these new skills, and screaming in frustration.

I think that all of these changes is why she is fussier than usual, and so her sleep patterns have been interrupted, which only begets more crabbiness.

Luckily, she is fairly easy to pacify with a little cuddling and calm time, even when in a bad mood. We are going to Phoenix in a couple of days for the Fiesta Bowl (Bella’s first horns football game!), so I am not so concerned about fixing up the routine, as I am sure that it will just fall apart again during our travels. When we return, we are going to start her on solids!! I’m excited to see how she reacts. The photos from this post were her Christmas 2008 portraits. Enjoy – Happy New Year!

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.

We might just be crazy…

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Yes – ladies and gents…Jeremy and I may have actually lost all bit of common sense we had left! We decided to take Bella on her first road trip this weekend. We went to Santa Barbara because Jeremy had business there on Monday…and despite a little melt down after the trip up on Saturday (I think we were just pushing our sweet little eight week old a little too far…) – we had a great time! On the way up, we stopped at Rincon, a surf break near Malibu, so I could feed Bella beachside while Jeremy went for a quick surf. Bella’s eyesight must be developing alot right now – because she is just staring at EVERYTHING! Check out the view. 🙂

Sunday, Bella got all dressed up and we went for a nice long walk through the Santa Barbara Artist Market, and then along the pier. Jeremy and I followed that with a WONDERFUL meal at Brophy Bros – while Bella napped in her car seat.

Monday, I went to visit some of our snowboarding buddies in Simi Valley. I got some great pics of her with the Spencer twins – and totally spaced about getting good ones with the Murphy kiddos. We missed the Wood family altogether this time 🙁 – but I’m sure I’ll get back up there soon, so she can meet them as well….Bella will get to spend alot of time with these folks in Mammoth this spring, and I can’t wait to see them all grow up together.

Hook ‘Em Baby!

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This weekend Bella went with us to see her first Longhorn football game with the San Diego Texas Exes group. She got all decked out in her Texas gear! While we look forward to taking her to her first REAL game – the SD group was great – with a huge (and loud) group ready to support the team. (I’m going to have to buy some baby ear muffs if we decide to go again 🙂 She slept through most of the game – waking for only the exciting moments when the crowd was cheering…