11 Months!

I’ve said this several times now, but this…THIS is the best age ever. Seeing that little personality emerge has been really fun. There’s so much to recap, I feel as though I should have been posting more throughout the month rather than shoving it into one long post.

On the physical front, you started pulling up right at your 10 month “monthday.” You did it once and then didn’t repeat that for a full week. Once you did it that 2nd time, you didn’t stop. A mere few days later you climbed up the entire staircase (with me close behind). You are really into everything now. I cannot imagine what will happen when you start walking, because I already fear that you may not make it to your 1st birthday. Every time I think I have the house pretty well child-proof, you prove me very wrong. Even though you keep me on my toes, I can honestly say that seeing you speed crawl to me when you’re finally ready for some mommy time is one of the most incredible & emotional things.

You’re already a climber, and so it’s been the month of the playground so we can get some of those urges out of your system. I didn’t think we’d be going to parks so early, but you really seem to enjoy yourself. We hit the park jackpot here – there are 5 within walking distance, so there’s always something new to try.

Early Spring

You’re also picking up and learning so much it is mind-blowing. While clapping remains incredibly popular, you’ve added waving, signing happy & signing milk to your repertoire. Unfortunately, they often look similar to our untrained eyes. You were signing “happy” for about a week before we figured out what you were doing. It wasn’t one of the signs that we’d been working on, so I totally missed it. We thought it was just your own personal, silly little dance move since you started doing when bopping along to your favorite songs. Mama finally figured out that you picked it up from a song that we sing at the start of  story time each week. Seriously, we’ve been working eat, milk, potty and more for months, and you picked this up from one song, one time a week. I guess we need to put all the other signs to song!

Speaking of songs, music is so important to you. You dance, wave, bounce and sign “happy” nearly constantly when there’s music playing. Some favorite songs are Jenny Jenkins and Hot Dog (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse).

While you babble constantly, there hasn’t been much in the way of official talking, but we think we can count “dog” (doh) as your first word. Oh, and you made it to 11 months with no teeth!

We cannot believe that the countdown is on for your first birthday!

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2 Steps Forward

I’m thrilled that we seem to be in the midst of the cyclical “2 steps forward” to equal rights. It’s exciting. It’s totally invigorating to get email after email and tweet after tweet about the legislative and judicial gains in California, Washington, New Jersey and Maryland. But I’m a wimp. My excitement is tempered by the backlash that will inevitably occur. A governor here will veto it (oh, wait, he just did). A religious group there will force it to statewide vote. And ohhhh, that’s where it stings. To date, no vote has ever ended favorably for LGBT rights, and hey, I’d much rather live in my happy little bubble where the people *I* know are accepting and welcoming and amazing allies.

I know that historically, civil rights issues haven’t been won by popular vote – they’ve been won through the judicial process. But the Pollyanna in me would love to see the people make the statement that equal rights are just right. I know it’ll happen eventually. And when you consider that homosexuality was actually illegal in 13 states until The Supremes ruled on Lawrence v. Texas in 2003 (2003!!) we sure have come a long way, baby. But there’s oh so much left to do.

 

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Christmas

Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas!!

Just trying to get into the spirit here. I can’t let Elia’s first Christmas go un-recapped.

It was a pretty special Christmas, of course – though Elia didn’t really know anything was going on. All she knew is that we suddenly didn’t let her in our dining area where we set up the tree this year.

O Christmas Tree

Though not an official Christmas event, we got into the holiday spirit with a girls’ lunch at the American Girl Bistro with Nicola, Natalie and her 2 daughters. It was really cute and I can’t wait to take Elia back in a few more years when she can really enjoy it.

American Girl Bistro

That weekend we had an early gift exchange with both sets of cousins, and she scored some really cool gifts, including books – several of which are her new favorites – and her own Christmas tree and “1st Christmas” ornaments! In fact, that seemed to be a popular gift, so her tree will have a strong base next year!

An early Christmas celebration

I even got a bit inspired this year thanks to Pinterest:

Handprint Santas

Christmas itself was spent in New Orleans. Our good car sleeper didn’t sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time and was up and unhappy for a good portion of the drive. I sit in the back with her, but then that leaves Ashley up front for 7-9 hours “alone.” No matter what we did, it was rough. However, we were so happy to be there and see everyone again.

Maw Maw bought her a lovely Christmas dress and she was the belle of the ball – for a little while at least. With her early bedtime being even earlier than usual due to the central time zone, she wasn’t with us for very long before she retired to her pack n play in the bedroom.

Christmas Eve

On Christmas morning she woke up bright and early at 5am and we placed her in front of her assortment of toys under the tree. She immediately played with the tree skirt, tissue paper from presents to be given out later in the day, some stray Mignon Faget ribbon from the day before, her maw maw’s coffee mug collection, her mama’s tennis shoe, her Poppy’s CDs, a water bottle, & some lint. Eventually she made her way to her new books from Uncle Jay and then the other toys.

This Christmas thing is great!

We spent the rest of the week in New Orleans where we had an early taste of “girls gone wild”.

Pat O's

Poppy's future favorite riding partner

I know this season will only get more special over the next few years.

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10 Months

I swore to have Christmas posted before her 10 month post. Oh well! I have more topics than just monthly milestone posts, but was sidelined by The Hunger Games trilogy last week!

Elia,

Now that you’re 10 months I’ve started to freak out about your 1st birthday. Not the event itself, but the fact that it’s been a year since you joined our family. But we’re not there quite yet!

We slept all of 2 hours last night. Clearly Elia thought this was piss poor timing for pictures.

This month feels like it’s been all about food. You insist on feeding yourself, you have finally mastered the sippy cup, you throw full-blown fits if we do not share our food with you, and we have yet to find a food that you don’t like. The number of new foods this month has been astounding, but we should probably slow down and make sure you’re good with this current menu before moving on.

nom

As far as your mobility, you’ve become quite the crawler and have been on a constant seek & destroy mission this month. If it is up, it must be down, and if it is in, it must be out. These very simple rules seem to drive your every move these days. To add an extra element of fun for mommy, you have taken your “taste testing” to a whole new level. I recently found you licking a (covered) electrical socket and sucking a leaf of a (safe) potted house plant. I swear we feed you enough.

We’re becoming more active in the local play group now that you’re mobile and you still seem to really enjoy being out and about. You “chase” the other babies, but once you reach them, you’re not quite sure what to do, so you’ll resort to your favorite activity – clapping.

As always, we cannot wait to see what you have in store for us!

10 Months

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9 Months

Elia,

Now that we’re officially closer to your 10 month birthday, I thought I’d finally get around to writing your 9 month post.

There have been a few periods where Ashley and I look at each other and marvel at the fact that we have a completely different baby from just a few weeks before. Three months was a HUGE jump, and 5 months was pretty crazy too. And now we’re finding ourselves in the midst of another huge developmental leap.

So Sweet

At the begining of the December, you started doing planks that would make any yoga instructor proud. That quickly progressed to getting up on all 4s and rocking. And in turn, that allowed you to easily learn how to get yourself in a seated position on your own. We were so focused on “when will she crawl?” that we very nearly almost missed this milestone! The week before Christmas you finally started moving – but backwards. I just knew you wanted to be a show off and were saving crawling for our New Orleans trip. Those instincts were right, because on Christmas Day (the day you turned 9 months old) you started moving forward for 3-4 “steps” before dropping to your belly to army crawl.

And she’s off!

There weren’t any new purees for this month, because you started showing a preference for feeding yourself – so we tried some kiwi chunks (you made a face), banana (couldn’t quite get over the texture), cheese, and egg yolk – which you loved.  You also signed “eat” pretty consistently and correctly for a few days, but true to form, you stopped doing it once you mastered it. I guess we can expect to see this “trick” again in about 3 months.

And speaking of tricks, you have 2 new things: you started clapping on December 18 and haven’t stopped since. You applaud yourself for EVERYTHING now – you’re clearly quite pleased with just about everything you do. You also gave Mommy a slow Rudy-clap from your exersaucer while I was doing some pushups. Just the motivation I needed to keep going, sweet pea! The other fun development is that you bounce/dance to music, or noise of any kind, really.

You’ve also started blowing raspberries all the time. The first time you did this was at your Mema’s funeral. We were graveside and your Uncle Kinney had just started his eulogy. You were in my arms, taking everything in, when suddenly you bent over backwards and started blowing raspberries at everyone in attendance. It was equally hilarious and inappropriate for the situation. But we were trapped, because the gravesite was raised and I couldn’t hop down with you in my arms in heels. So I identified a friendly looking guy on the ground level, passed you to him before he even knew what was happening, jumped down myself, grabbed you back, and made a bee line for the back of the cemetery.

As for the official stats, you were 19 lbs, 5 oz and 28.75″ at your 9 month appointment. The changes and developments continue, but we’re going to have to save those for the 10 month update!

The days of her sitting still with the sticker are long gone

Happy 9 Months!

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Almost there…

Well, darn. After a pretty fun month of November with (near) daily posts, I certainly didn’t mean to lose that momentum by disappearing for over a month. December flew by, as Decembers tend to do; however, the real reason for our lack of posts had to do with a little computer maintenance and minor paranoia about losing all my photos. But that’s dealt with and 1.5 months worth of photos have been downloaded, organized, edited, backed up, and uploaded to Project 365 on Flickr. And now with that housekeeping almost over I can return to blogging very soon.

In the mean time, I updated Elia’s 8 Month post with photos – they’re really too cute to miss!

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Great Mema

Beuna Kinney Taylor – December 14, 1913 – December 5, 2011

Dear Elia,

Earlier this month, your Great Mema (Pop’s mom), passed away just 8 days shy of her 98th birthday. While it’s sad to lose someone, she sure did live such a long and happy life! There’s a very long history of family members living longer than the “average bear.” 🙂 For example, Aunt Henry, who was Pop’s great aunt, was born in 1901 and lived until 2003 – 102 years old! And Pop’s grandmother (Mema’s mom) lived to 101 years old. My, the changes they saw in their lives!

(Writing this post reminds me there are 2 other posts I need to write for you. Your Grandma, Mama’s mom, died when mama was just 21 and your Great Grandma Bentley died a few years before you came along. I want to make sure you know how special they were, so those posts will come soon.)

The 3 most important things to know about your Great Mema: 1) She loved to play bridge; 2) She loved to paint and earned a living doing so, as well as teaching others to paint; 3) She was an outdoors kind of gal.

Bridge is a card game played with 4 people where the person who sits across from you is your partner. It’s a complicated game and requires a sharp mind. Your Great Mema had a super sharp mind up until last December (2010) when she had a stroke. Before her stroke, she played bridge every day with her buddies. . .  and if truth be told, she won almost all of the time. She would never lose on purpose as she was super competitive. She planned her day around her bridge games and I believe that’s the main thing that kept her happy, alert and sharp through her 97th year!

Painting: Your Great Mema was quite the artist! While she went to school for teaching biology, (she actually graduated from college which was very uncommon from women at that time) after teaching for a while she realized her true love was painting. She opened a studio in downtown Villa Rica and taught half the city! 🙂 She also taught your Uncle Kinney, Uncle Brad, and Aunt Amy, and each have paintings hanging in your Pop’s house. She was a little too old by the time I came along, so Mama’s the only one that didn’t get art lessons.

Outdoors: Your Great Mema was happiest outside, and if she had her way, she’d be next to a lake with a fishing pole! She taught Mama and Uncles Kinney and Brad and Aunt Amy how to fish. She could tell you every type of tree, flower, plant, bird, fish, and animal in nature.  Nature scenes were also her favorite things to paint. Uncle Kinney, in particular, shared her passion for fishing and being outdoors and can’t wait to (try to) pass that along to you!

Your Great Mema was a special lady and a very – and strong woman. Maybe you will share some of her interests as you grow up. Your Pop has plenty of land for you to explore and learn all about nature. What fun it will be!

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