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Monday, August 22, 2011

Norah Grows: 4 months; and Mama goes back to work

My sweet baby, you will be 4 months old on Thursday, which is my first day to return to work after these glorious months home being your mama, exclusively.  I cannot put my gratitude for this time into words, but know that in just these few short months I have grown more as a human being because of watching your life begin in front of my eyes.  You are taking on your own characteristics and beginning to become the little person you are destined to be, and it's amazing to watch.  While I feel that your Daddy and I choose to do lots of things regarding how we will raise you that I hope will help you grow into an honest, caring, kind person, you will also carry your own spark and I hope that we can just help you ignite it when you are ready, and remind you about who you are if your flame falters someday.

I am going to miss these precious hours with you so fiercely while I'm away at work, but I do feel comfort in knowing that you will be spending special days with your grandparents and your Daddy, and those will become irreplaceable memories for you, too.  I want you to know that you are always surrounded by family who loves you, and I hope that this time will be the foundation for that.  As hard as I anticipate it will be on me to be working full time, I hope that it is a piece of cake for you!

At 4 months, you are getting stronger and stronger every day, and have started to work on sitting up.  You still definitely need full support to do so, but you are much more stable and your abdominal muscles are getting stronger every day.  You are starting to have much better dexterity when reaching for toys and pulling things you want towards your mouth.  You can grasp objects with your hands, you love to reach out and grab the toys on the mobile over your swing or the toy bar over your carseat.  You have found your toes, and pull them up to your mouth and suck on them whenever you can! Daddy thinks this is especially funny!

You have the brightest eyes, and they are still blue as can be! I love the way they light up when one of us gets you to smile :) You still LOVE the bath, too! Sometimes, we even take your tub outside and let you have a bath on the deck!

You make such silly faces sometimes, and you get us all to laugh all the time! You are starting to giggle yourself, and we can usually get you going with a round of peek-a-boo or some silly dance moves.  It's really fun to see you so happy.

The drooling...oh the drooling.  You are a full fledged drool monster lately, but still no teeth. It's early and we don't expect any to show up super soon, but you are in serious bib-mode now, or else we have to change your outfit several times a day! You are constantly putting your fingers, or ours, in your mouth, and everything has a slightly sticky sensation around here from all the slobber! 
Notice...the drool.

Eying those fingers to chew on! 

 You enjoy the water, and we've had a few fun beach days and pool days this summer.  You are a little sun-baby, and I hope you take after your Daddy and don't burn like a lobster like Mama as you get older! 

Fuller Pool with Mama and Daddy

Proud Daddy with his girl at Fuller
Always checking out the world around you! And, still rocking the baby-hawk! 

I am so enjoying every minute of being your mama, sweet baby Norah.  Happy 4th Month in this world!

First Summer Vacation

We took Norah on her very first summer vacation last week to the Upper Peninsula of MI.  Mark, Tryn, Liam, Matt, Norah and I, plus 2 dogs and a boatload of gear made the trek up over the bridge and into a teeny town east of St. Ignace called Hessel.  We had a small 2 bedroom cabin on a bay in Lake Huron, and although the accommodations were somewhat meager, it ended up being a great place to stay for the week.  We played lots of family games, took a few day trips to surrounding area attractions (Mackinac Island and Tahquamenon Falls) and all of us enjoyed relaxing, swimming, reading and spending time together.  The photos do a better job of recapping the week, so without further ado, here you go! 

Bonzer and Lainey loving the lake - both dogs were pretty much wet all week long!

Norah's first Great Lake dip - just the toes, as it was a little chilly the first day

Tiny toes!

With Daddy in the cabin

Sleepin - check out the sweet sofa! 

Hessel Marina at sunset

Mark, Liam and Tryn on the Mackinac Ferry

Norah's first ferry ride - clearly thrilled

Beautiful view at Arch Rock

Arch Rock

Hanging with Grandpa

With a butterfly on her leg in the Butterfly House

On the ferry to leave the island, overlooking the beautiful marina

Tahquamenon Falls - Upper Falls.  She was mesmerized by the sound of the falls! 

Upper Falls

Swimming with Daddy

Lainey's in heaven! 

Beach babe
The pier
Our first road trip was mostly a success - with the exception being Norah is no longer a fan of riding in the car and has taken to sharing her honest opinion about it with us as long as she's buckled in her seat.  And Lainey is distressed about rumble strips in construction zones (that's putting it mildly) and at one point catapulted herself from the front seat into the backseat and would.not.budge.  So I spent a fair portion of the drive home either with Lainey on my lap in the backseat, or hunched over Norah's carseat to nurse her so we didn't have to stop and prolong the trip, or pumping while speeding down the highway so that I could give her a bottle and remain safely seatbelted myself - now there's a picture I spared you!  All in all, we did pretty well though, and amazingly packed everything we needed to survive for a week with a dog, a baby, and ourselves into the CR-V (no one really needs to see out the rear window, right?).    It was a trial run for our much longer road trip to upstate NY this fall for my dear friend Aidan's wedding...minus the dog. I hope by the time Norah is 6 months old she will be doing better in the carseat...or we're in for a lovely ride.

Monday, August 1, 2011

To everything, turn turn turn, There is a season, turn turn turn

It's always about this point in the summer when I begin my yearly longing for fall.  Don't get me wrong, living in Michigan I have come to appreciate the fact that we get to experience the fullest of each season, because I know that in about 5 months we will be buried in snow and I'll be cursing the difficulties of bundling up a baby to go from front door to car, and recalling the ease with which we bounded out of the house in nothing but onesie several months prior.  But, I'm an autumn girl at heart.  Several weeks now of 80-90 degree temps and about equal humidity has me pining for the crisp 60s and even 70s we often get in September and October - jeans and sweater weather, baby! I am already excited about the adorable photo ops that fall presents with a baby - pumpkins! And leaves! The Dexter Cider Mill! Don't even get me started about Halloween! Can't wait to get her dressed in some cutie butt jeans, throw her adorable lil pumpkin hat on her head, and get out to enjoy my favorite season with her. This mama is looking forward to some cinnamon sugar donuts and fresh (unpasteurized this year!) apple cider, hot tea, pumpkin bread, chili...and let's hear it for tailgating food! Football starts in almost a month, and I'm excited to watch Michigan football this year under Brady Hoke...Go Blue!

I got so excited about fall's impending arrival today that I made a batch of mini pumpkin muffins for breakfast - you can eat pumpkin any month of the year, it turns out! I followed this recipe today, and I think it's a keeper! Quick Bread Pumpkin Muffins
All the right spices to make this kitchen smell like it's October! (Even if it is 87 degrees outside at 11:00 AM)

Fresh from the oven, hot, fluffy and delicious! 

And some more on a plate this time, with some coffee

Getting fired up for football with my Alma Mater mug!

Norah's been a rolling-over machine the past few days - here she is proud of her little self (and possibly with some breakfast on her chin):

So big in her saucer!

Of course, I'm not bidding August a fast farewell, because it's my last full month home with Norah.  I'm still very much looking forward to vacation next week, and more days swimming in Grandpa's pool, and hopefully a decent August harvest from our little garden (at least the tomatoes seem to be growing, and basil OMG the basil, and the squash plants at least look good, but so far no veggies to be seen on them).  

Swimming at Grandpa's - she looks unsure, but she did love it! 
This week I have to be more efficient than my usual self at following through on my to-do lists - laundry,   packing, last minute errand running for vacation.  I'm already overwhelmed at the amount of things Norah is going to require for a week long trip, and I'm not sure how all 3 of us plus Lainey are going to fit in the car around it, but we'll see! An adventure to be sure :)