Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lana's 15 month check-up & Happy Halloween!

This morning Allana went to see Dr. Dirk for her 15 month checkup.  As usual, he said that she's perfectly healthy!  He's so proud of us for getting rid of the soothie, and he and his nurses were very impressed with her vocabulary.

She weighed 25 pounds, 13 oz, which puts her in the 85% for weight.  She's 32.75" tall, which means she is basically off the charts in height, and her head circumference is 48.4 cm, which puts her in the 97%. 

After all the wonderful news, she had to get 5 shots!  Surprised  Thank goodness Dan was able to meet us at the doctor's office to help us.
She woke up from her nap this afternoon grumpy, and her mood didn't improve as the afternoon went on.  She fussed and cried and just felt bad in general.

We finally managed to put her in her costume.  [Side story about costume: we had a bunny costume to put her in.  However, there are 2 sisters who are 6 and 8 who live a few doors down who love Lana.  They found her a costume that they brought to her this morning.  How could we NOT let her wear that?  They were so excited about it!]  She cried the whole time! 

Once we got downtown, though, she had a great time!  As long as she had a sucker in her mouth, she was happy.  We've found a secret weapon for airplane rides - dum dums!  Not only will they help her ears, but they keep her so quiet!

A whole crowd of us went together, spent about an hour and a half trick-or-treating together, and then came back to our neighborhood for dessert.  We had wassail, homemade hot chocolate, brownies, caramel apples, and cheesecake.  Yummy!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Her first phrase

Allana regularly uses between 50-60 words (I lost count somewhere along the way).  Today she said her first phrase!

She LOVES Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle.  When I say love, I mean she brings it to us to read at least a dozen times a day.  We've read it so often that she can "read" it with us, saying what animal is coming on the next page and making that animal's sound. 

This morning we were all laying around the living room.  I had read Brown Bear 3 or 4 times, and Dan had read it 3 or 4 times.  Finally we hid it in the back of her book basket and tried to distract her with another toy.  A few minutes later, she comes marching into the kitchen with the book in hand, and says loudly, "More Bown Bear!" 

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's worth it.

An old friend that I've run into on facebook is single and living a life in NYC that most of us will only dream about. He recently asked me if marriage and motherhood was worth it. I've never thought about it until he asked. I'm so glad he did. Here's my response to him:

It's worth it. More than I can explain to you, it's worth it. It's hard in some aspects, the most significant one being that it reveals every flaw you never knew you had. I went into marriage thinking I had it together, but living in such intimacy with another person peels back your layers and lets you see the sin that was lying dormant. I had no idea I was so selfish until I got married. So I worked on those sins and prayed for freedom and then when I finally felt like I was adequate to be a mom, we decided to have a baby. And if I went into motherhood thinking I was even close to adequate, I was so wrong!! Being a parent is refining, in the rawest sense. Loving a child and raising them well requires complete selflessness and total dependency on the Father. It is exhausting, spiritually, physically, emotionally. It has been humbling, to say the least. 

But at the end of the day (covered in cheerios, bubbles, and mud), I know that I am, among all women, most richly blessed. I am loved by a God who gives me grace to handle everything from a husband working two jobs and going to grad school to a toddler who projectile vomits with regularity. I sleep beside a man who loves me unconditionally, even though I test him daily with my temper and my pride. I wake up each morning and go into the next room where a sleepy, warm little girl reaches up her chubby arms and squeals "Mama! Hi!" like it's Christmas morning. I get to breathe in the sweet smell of baby every day; any door that holds Dan and Lana inside is home to me; I fall asleep holding hands with the person who knows the ugliest parts of me (physically and otherwise) and loves me anyway.

It's refining and beautiful. And worth every minute.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Life with Lana today (1 year, 3 months)

  • Today was our Fall Festival at preschool.  Allana has a bunny costume, but it's still too warm for that, so we dressed her in a onesie, babylegs, and her big yellow tutu.  She was the cutest ballerina there!  Dan got to come for Allana's time at the festival, and my co-teacher covered for me while I joined them.  We had a great time playing with her! She loved the big inflatable slide, the jump house, the basketball goal and all the little pumpkins she got to play with.  The Pick Pocket lady was fun....she had pockets all over her dress with prizes inside!  Allana liked to pick prizes out and put them back in.  She was especially interested in the play area with bubble wrap taped on the floor.  She just ran back and forth across it, listening to it pop.  It was so fun being able to enjoy all the fun with her!

  • Just this week, Allana has started showing an interest in the potty!  She knows how to say "tee-tee" and "poo-poo."  She likes to follow me into the restroom and she'll squat down beside me.  She loves to flush it for me!  She's also started wetting fewer diapers during the day, and soaking them at night, so much so that we've had to start putting her in overnight diapers.  We sit her on the potty sometimes.  She hasn't used it yet, but she likes to sit on it.  It seems so early to think about potty training!  We've gotten rid of the bottle and the soothie...when we get rid of diapers, she won't be my baby anymore.  However, if she's expressing an interest in it, we'll encourage it, of course.  When we get paid next, we're going to try to purchase her a seat to go on the big potty and see what happens.  
  • If you'll notice in some of the pictures, Allana has become super-attached to her lovey.  Before we took away her soothie, she only used it at night.  But we got rid of the soothie and went back to school, and she wants her lovey all the time now!  She calls it "love love" and if you forget it at home, she'll ask for it endlessly.  "Love love...peese!  Love love...peese!"  It's so sweet.
  • We're officially down to one nap a day!  We dropped the morning nap while we were in Gatlinburg, and she has done pretty well without it.  We were getting to the place where she was only napping for an hour or 45 minutes twice a day, so now she naps in the afternoon for 2-3 hours.  It's been nice for our schedule, and has allowed us to go to church in the mornings for the entire time.
  • She is now saying everything that we say to her.  She loves to repeat us, and is using her words to try to communicate with us.  Some of our favorites are "oss" for "off," (usually used in reference to her shoes or a bow), "ello" when the phone rings, "mamada", a combination of mama and dada (used when she wants both of us at the same time), "bown bear" repeatedly (when begging us to read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" for the thousandeth time), and "iside" for "outside" (accompanied by hanging on the doorknob, occuring about a gazillion times a day, including when it's pitch black outside). 

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pumpkins with the Fowler's

Today was a beautiful day in Wake Forest!  Dan played hookey from classes, and our family joined the Fowler family for a day at the pumpkin patch.  We went to Hill Ridge Farm in Youngsville and had a great time!
Allana loved the hayride, picking out her pumpkin in the pumpkin patch, going down the huge slide, watching the goats and sheep, and playing on the playground.  Here is the website for the farm we visited: 
A few of our highlights from the day:
  • We took a hayride out to the pumpkin patch; Allana loved watching the tractor. 
  • Allana and Mason held hands while they picked out pumpkins - it was so cute!
  • She was so sweet as she walked through the pumpkins, picking them up and saying "pump pump!" 
  • Some of the pumpkins in the shade still had dew on them.  She wiped the dew onto her hands, and then tried to use the water to fix her hair!  We fix her curls in the mornings using water, so I guess she was trying it out herself. 
  • She climbed up the slide on the playground all by herself.  I stood behind her, of course, but she made it up on her own.  I couldn't believe it!  She loves to slide, though, so that probably made her more determined. 
  • Speaking of slides, they had an 80 foot slide that you went down on a piece of burlap.  We both took her down at different times, and she loved it, of course!
  • After all our sliding, we went to see the sheep & goats in their pens.  It was one of my favorite things!  We asked her what the sheep said, and she said "baa!"  And then the sheep actually baa-ed at her.  You should have seen the look on her face!  And after listening to the goats, she'll tell you that a goat says "maa-aa!"  
  • She played in a big teepee for a while, and then she was tired!  We ate lunch at a farmer's market, and then we all came home and took naps.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Her heart's in Alabama

After spending a week with them in Gatlinburg, Allana can't stop thinking about her Nana and PawPaw!  She was playing in the living room after dinner and kept asking for them over and over.  We tried to call them, but just got an answering machine.
She went to bed about 7:30, and woke up crying around 9:00, which is very unusual for her.  I turned the volume up on the monitor to listen to her, and she would cry for a minute, settle down to a whimper, and say, "Nana....PawPaw....Nana....PawPaw...." over and over until she started crying again.
She has not eaten well today at all, so I made her a bowl of oatmeal and brought her downstairs to eat it.  She laid in my arms and ate every bite.  It was so sweet...she would eat a bite, chew it up, say "thank you" very quietly while making the sign for it, and then open her mouth for another bite.  She was literally falling asleep between bites, but she kept eating until she finished the whole bowl.  At that point I got up to take her back to bed, but as soon as I stood up, she started crying, "Nana...PawPaw...." again. 
So at 9:45 at night, I call them up and put them on speaker phone so she can just hear their voices.  When she heard her Nana talking, she smiled so big.  She kept saying their names and pointing to their pictures on the fridge.  As soon as we finished talking to them, she went right back to bed and went to sleep without a peep.
Thankfully we'll see them again next month for Thanksgiving and then in December for Christmas.  Hopefully we'll have all racked up some frequent flyer miles or something to use in 08 because this baby loves her grandparents. 

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fall with the family in Gatlinburg

We are back home from our wonderful fall break in Gatlinburg!  We stayed at the Big Easy at Gatlinburg Falls Resort, and it was amazing.  We all enjoyed it so much that Dan's parents are already working on planning a trip next fall.  The weather was unbelievable (60's and 70's, sunny every day) and the company was extraordinary.  Here are a few of the highlights from our week:
  • Sunday we arrived at the cabin; Brother and Janika and Jake were already there.  We spent some time with them Sunday evening and Monday playing and going to the resort playground, hot tub and heated pool.  So fun!
  • Monday afternoon PawPaw, Nana, Aunt Kenzie, Uncle Barcus and Noah arrived.  It was so nice to have the whole family under one roof.  I loved watching Dan play pool and video games with his mom, dad, brother and sister.  They all enjoy each other's company so much; how we miss them.
  • On Tuesday we went to Ripley's Aquarium.  Allana loved it!  She just kept saying "fish! fish!" and pointing to all of the beautiful sea creatures.  What a great experience for her to see all those underwater treasures!  The look on her face was unbelievable. 
  • Wednesday we spent enjoying downtown Gatlinburg.  We ate caramel apples and carried Allana around in the backpack.  She likes it so much better than her stroller; I think because she can see more when she's up high. 
  • Thursday was our hayride through Cade's Cove!  PawPaw & Nana rented out the entire trailer for us, so we piled on and rode through looking at the animals.  We got to see some deer up close, and our little girl loved it!  She kept saying "deer! deer!"  When we would go through a stretch without any deer, she would whine and say "please?  deer?"  It was so cold, so eventually she snuggled up to me and took a quick nap.  She woke up when I was putting her in the car seat and the first thing she said was "deer?"  I loved going through Cade's Cove that way.
  • On Friday, we hung out at the cabin with Brother and Janika and Jake until they had to leave.  Lana took a short nap while Dan went to Ober Gatlinburg with his family, and then she & I met them downtown for a little shopping and dinner at Calhoun's.  If you've never eaten at Calhoun's, it's worth the stop when you are in Gatlinburg.  Allana loved the ribs almost as much as I did!
  • Saturday morning we packed up and headed home.  Allana did great in the car.  She read books, took a couple of naps, played with her toys, and sang some songs with us.  The only time she cried at all was when she was going to sleep.  She was a trouper! 
The best part of the trip was all the time we got to spend with our family.  Moving away has really made us treasure each moment we spend with them.  Things your family members do that might normally irritate someone or get on your nerves just don't matter when you only get to see them for a limited amount of time; you just let things go and treasure every minute you have together.  It was so hard to let everyone leave - we love them so very much, and are so grateful for this precious week we had with them. 

Here are a few of my favorite pictures: