Julia has discovered her vowels. Ahh, the joy of babyhood - where you can engage in a full converstation with yourself with words that all begin with the letter B. Last night she was fussy in her crib and in between cries we heard what my husband and I swore was "big bad baby". We were hysterical! I guess I would be pretty impressed with myself too if I discovered this whole new language. Lots of great things start with the letter B: Ball, Blog, Beer, and "big bad baby". She's working on her D's now so we'll se what she comes up with!
So this big bad baby is now taking swim lessons and is quite engaged in this process. I realize how much I am learning about Julia's personality as she encounters these new adventures. I can tell that she loves it, but she doesn't quite smile. She's busy soaking it all in (literally). She is so observant and aware of her surroundings. Charles dunked her the other morning at the lesson and it didn't even phase her. She just looked to him for reassurance and kept on going. She definately lets us know where she is and what she wants (in her own way obviously). She has a sweet yet bold presence. I love it!
Here is a little snapshot of her swim time. This face pretty much captures her "look" throughout her 1/2 hour in the pool each week.
On a side note, I have been going to town on some sewing projects. I am so excited about the possibilities once I really get the hang of my machine. My problem is that I haven't had more than tiny bits of time to really tackle things...besides the afternoon that I had with Laura that was supposed to be a "craft day" of sewing, but it was more of 20% sewing, 30% playing with Julia, 5% unloading the car, 5% eating really good blueberry muffins, and 40% talking about sewing and preparation. That sounds about right. It was a lovely afternoon and Laura is my most favorite craft buddy in all of Massachusetts! Anyway, I am looking forward to making something that might be "blogworthy" - we shall see.
...but I swear I could title each post "My Favorite Things". Whenever I think about blogging it's an update on life (mostly life with Julia) who of course is my favorite thing!
So I had this funny moment when I was at a "playgroup" with Julia this week. I cannot say enough about the beautiful group of women that I have met through this mom's group - they have preserved my sanity and more importantly helped me see that I'm not the only one who recognizes that everyday is a humbling reminder that I have no clue what I'm doing. At our last gathering I sort of laughed to myself as I realized that most of our conversation was centered on sharing what we've learned. Mostly the things that we've discovered and what we can't live without..one big afternoon discussion of our favorite things. No wonder it's always on my mind. In the struggle to survive momhood, we've all found snippets of advice or things that have made this bearable. There are the tangible things in this time, the material things that just make sense, make life better, avoid catastrophes, and are just too cute to pass up. Do I need a Pool Blue hat from Etsy to survive or to feel like a better mom? No, but I will say they are pretty stinking adorable! There are also the pieces of advice that just help you move forward as a more confident mom. And isn't that worth more than gold? What an encouraging and amazing example of community.
So, going back to the whole topic of Favorites. (I promise I won't say this word in my next month of blogs)
I will try.
Anyway, you can't put a price tag on a beautifully captured photo. For Julia's first few months of life I tried to take one of her each day. Now whenever she see's a bright light she automatically turns her head. She's pretty traumatized by my obsession with this, so I have scaled back my efforts. I was able to get some beautiful 6 month portraits at Laura Novak's Littlenest studio in Delaware (natural light, no flash). It was tough to choose just one or two prints, so we decided on a canvas with 2 of the best Julia photos. The quote goes along the outsides of the canvas and the following is a sneek peak/rough draft:
The Brian Andreas quote is perfect.
So I just wrote all of that and really all I wanted to do was post this picture and simply state "my favorite".
She's a girl who knows what she wants and she's willing to try anything. Literally.
Rehoboth Beach Funland tickets (cutest gift idea ever from Aunt Bean and Neesie) belong in the category of fun things, but they're not so tasty. So, a few moments later we moved on. These 4 shots are a day in the life of Julia's first steps toward eating. As you can see it's quite a process and it involves a few wardrobe changes throughout. :)
Innocently trying to learn her sippy cup, but don't let that face fool you...
So we moved on to sweet potatoes. It was pretty early on that I stripped her down. I left to get another spoon and here is how I found her. Pretty determined to get every last morsel of this sweet potato goodness!
(I love this face - it's the "what's wrong with my eating style" face.)
And we have entered the realm of Julia's life where most new introductions end in the need for a bath.
What a year it has been! These initial pictures from last year seem like a lifetime ago! 2009 has been simply life altering. Here is a quick recap:
January 14th 2009 - 4 months pregnant
February 14th 2009 - this about sums up how we spent our entire winter!
March 8th 2009 - girls weekend in Florida w/ Kirstan
April 2009 - 7 months pregnant (Shana 6 months pregnant)
May 9th 2009 - Kate and J's wedding...I love this picture!
June 13th 2009 - SHE's here - Julia Claire Gray arrives!
July 4th, 2009 - 4th of July parade and a visit from Becca, Ben and Hannah.
August 8th, 2009 - Aunt Kirstan's first visit
September 8th, 2009 - 3 months old, first of many trips to Maine
October 9th, 2009 - 4 months old, first of many trips to Florida
November 21st, 2009 - View from our hotel room on my birthday in New York City-saying good bye to Bec, Bean, Kris, and Kate.
December 7th, 2009 - (6 months old) preparing for our first Christmas as a family.
What I have learned this year:
1) You never quite know how to do it until you're in the midst of it and you just trust yourself and figure it out.
2) Grocery shopping will never be the same...instead of thinking gourmet, I imagine what will be the easiest to grab and prepare quickly. (Hummus continues to be my best friend!)
3) Long showers have never felt like such a treat.
4) Once you start solids, the smell of diapers will never be the same again!
5) Going through new parenting with other moms is essential.
6) Just when you think you have it all together, some sort of "accident" is going to send you back to square one...prepare for everything, expect very litte, get excited for minor accomplishments.
7) Seeing Julia laugh trumps any other joy - it is humbling to think of the things I will do to get this child to laugh and smile (and even funnier seeing her grandparents do this!)
8).Breastfeeding is on my top list of accomplishments. Nobody tells you how truly hard it is. I have a countdown list and I celebrate each month I have continued it. It is the most precious time that I have with her.
9) 4am 10 years ago in college looks VERY different from the 4am's I encounter now. Is it possible that I used to think nothing of staying up all night hanging out in Witmer dorm?
10) Love is different now.
1) Make 1 new recipe per week
2) Learn how to use my sewing machine and make my gifts for people this year (at least a few).