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She sure is growing. She is such a social baby – smiling and cooing at people. She is a bit of a tease as she will reach for whoever is close by, but as they try to grab her then she backs away. This child can MOVE. She is so fast and loves to explore and get into everything (especially stuff you don’t want her to…like plastic bags, Bella’s tiny toys, sticks the dog brings in…) You literally can not take your eyes off of her if she is free to move about unless the area is completely baby proofed (our house is not…) The other day, she took the door stop right out of the wall.

She is eating more and more – and has about 7 teeth and more on the way every week. She loves to stand on her own and balance right now. Hasn’t taken a step yet – but I’m hoping that happens soon. She is also imitating sounds, and can say “Da Da”, “Hi”, “Wa Wa” (water), “Be Ba” (Bella), and “Ba Ba” (Ma Ma). She actually knows what those mean – and seeing that comprehension is so much fun. She just learned to make the “S” sound – and we were doing it back and forth the other night when I was nursing her and she was just cracking up. Her little baby laugh just melts my heart.

We’ve all had a nasty cold since Halloween, but I think we are all finally over it (I’m knocking on wood as I type this…) and the past two nights Audrey finally slept through the night again. YEA!

I haven’t posted in a while, and with the holidays coming up (and Audrey’s birthday), I thought I’d just try to jot down a couple of notes so I don’t forget. I’ve been cooking up some pre-thanksgiving treats today…looking forward to turkey with our friends. Gobble Gobble.

I finally downloaded photos from the good camera. These are from Sept-Now.

Happy Halloween!

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So much has been going on that I am just now getting on to post the Halloween photos! And these are just the ones from my iPhone – much better ones are on the good camera.

We went to Texas for Dee Dee and Richard’s wedding. I am really glad that my Mom has found happiness – as I don’t want her to feel alone anymore; but it is still pretty difficult to imagine celebrating family affairs with anyone but my Dad – as he has not been gone for very long, and now it feels awkward to even speak about him at what I used to consider his “home”. Richard seems like a nice guy though, and my mom certainly seems happy with him, so I’m hoping we can all get to know him more and that the awkwardness fades as time moves forward. They had a very nice ceremony at their church and Bella got to be a flower girl with Chandler. They were super cute – it was fun to see them all dressed up like princesses.

Speaking of Dad, I still think of him all the time – especially lately as Audrey is coming into her personality even more. It is weird to me to think that she will never have even gotten to meet him. I doubt Bella will really even remember him – but at least I can show her pictures of the two of them together and I know that he got to see my first pride and joy.

Speaking of my first pride and joy…Little miss Bella is always a ball of fun. She is certainly still challenging to Jeremy and I – but I feel like we are getting a bit out of the tantrum stage and moving into a more of a reasonable mindset. Bella is a tough cookie when it comes to “figuring out” how to find that great balance of setting limits/expectations and giving freedoms and having fun. She likes to take “fun” to the very outer limit of what is acceptable, so I feel like I can’t really let go, instead I have to be careful to not set a bad example as once we do something once (ie-read one extra chapter of a book before bed because we have extra time one night) it sets an expectation for every night that can lead to a mini tantrum. I guess this is the hard part of parenting. You want to do some of the fun things with your kids that they want to do too – but you realize that you have to set a good example and get chores and such done in the 24 hours you are given in the day. An example of this is that we have now stopped the five minute “snuggle” as she falls asleep at night. This was causing me and Jer to fall asleep and be less productive at night, instead we just give big hugs and kisses and wish a good night. She still asks though for the snuggle every night but makes a deal for an extra chapter of reading instead. The other night, I’m sick and Jeremy was gone and I really would have liked to just cuddle up in her bed for a bit, after all she is still my baby even if she doesn’t think so…but I knew what would happen the next night when I need to do the dishes, laundry and still get some sleep before Audrey wakes me up. So I gave her the extra reading and headed off to my own room. I get sad sometimes because she is growing so fast and even though I know it is my job to teach her to be independent and take care of herself, I still think of her as my little baby that I snuggled every morning for the first year of her life. But on the flip side a week like this week, where I see her behave politely at a restaurant with an out of town guest, take no for an answer when she asks for more Halloween candy than she needs in a day, calm herself when she is ready to throw a tantrum and really frustrated, and being kind to our neighbor when the other kids are scaring him on the trampoline, I am so proud of the little girl she is growing into.  I definitely see that Bella responds best to consistency when it comes to setting limits. She also responds well when we notice and praise the behavior we like her to have, and spend less time threatening and more time acting (ie-immediately giving a time out when she misbehaves on purpose). These are not natural ways for me to “discipline” but I am working on it day by day. Hopefully I won’t screw her up too much.

The birth order of children is really interesting to me. I often regret that I don’t get to spend as much time fawning on and enjoying Audrey’s babyhood – as to me, it is such a precious time. But at the same time I realize that even though Bella received oodles and oodles of attention, she is the test subject when it comes to us figuring out what works as parents – so she has to deal with us making a lot more mistakes and I think that makes the discipline learning curve more difficult for her. For example, Bella never had to be patient as a baby, as there was nothing to hold me up. Now both kids have to be patient for everything…for Audrey, this is just the way things have always been – but for Bella it is a whole new world of “how life works”.  In hindsight – it would have been easier to make her wait more as a baby…but as they say…hindsight is 20/20. I think having two kids makes Jeremy and I better parents as a whole though and I think it is best for Bella and Audrey to have each other – so hopefully that will offset some of our mistakes we make. 🙂

Speaking of that beautiful baby sister, Audrey…Oh man, she is in that super cute let me blow raspberries on your belly and sing to you all day phase. She has a smile that just lights up a room. I can’t help smiling around her. Neither can Bella or Jeremy. She has been growing so fast – she is starting to try to stand on her own now – and I’m hopeful she will try to walk someday soon. I will be SO excited when she stops crawling – as she loves to put EVERYTHING in her mouth that she finds on the floor and she is super fast at it – so you have to keep one eye on her at all times.  She is into finger foods now – likes banana, tofu, steamed peas – broccoli – carrots, puffs/cherrios – she would really rather that than the soft stuff, but she will still have her favorites – spinach/potato, winter squash and oatmeal pretty easily. And she is starting to like the little pouch foods (what a neat invention!) and has learned to “suck” the pouches and the novelty of that makes her happy. She likes apple/blueberry/spinach the best of those so far. I’m still nursing her – but I am thinking I will probably wean her after we travel for Christmas. She still snuggles with me every morning and even though she wakes me at an absolutely unreasonable hour 5am or even earlier, I cherish those moments knowing that they will only last a few more short months.

She is still not much of a napper. Maybe an hour or two max per day (an hour is pretty standard). She just doesn’t seem to need it all that much – she is happy even without it, but she does crash easily at night pretty early (7pm).

She says “hi” and I think she is trying to say Ma and Da and she says Be for Bella.

Oh – and she went to her first UT game a nail biter against Baylor. She was a champ lasting late into the night on me and flirting with everyone in the stands.

I can’t believe that she is almost 1 year old. This year has gone by SO fast. Too fast…

Oh yeah…wow, I really digressed from Halloween. It was a blast! We had our annual pumpkin carving party and Bella was a clown and Audrey was a lady bug. I thought this year Bella would want to run with the bigger kids, but she was so content talking to all the neighbors when they opened their doors for trick or treating and checking out all the decorations, that we took it slow. I love that about her. She really loves every detail of Halloween.

Who is that photo bombing our shot?!?!?!!?!?!?!?

50 yard line tickets for the second half about 7 rows up…wow…cool way to see a game.