Sunday, November 29, 2009

Holiday moods

I'll freely admit that we had our Christmas tree up and decorated the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving. It's not such a travesty here in the Philippines where Christmas is celebrated during all the 'ber months (September, October, November, and December). To be honest I was getting excited for Christmas long before getting the tree up because holiday shopping here starts very early to get packages sent to the States in time. It is the second year we are using a (gasp!) artificial (despicably fake) tree. The thing looks so lovely and perfect that I can't really complain. The best part of the whole thing is the no-drama assembly. Justin and I have some funny stories of our real trees in our past. One stressful year we drove all the way to BFE rural Ashburn, VA to find the perfect tree that we discovered upon arrival at home that the trunk was at a 45 degree angle to the rest of the tree. Two trips to Home Depot later for bigger and more elaborate tree stands we might have had the tree up but crooked. The last few years in the States we got smart and picked out nice trees pre-cut at Home Depot that eliminated 90% of the stress. Long story short, real trees include a decent amount of huffing and puffing and secret eye rolling between my husband and I. I am pleased to say that this year there was none of that (over the tree at least...maybe about the ornaments our two year old broke but that's another story). I'm ALMOST ashamed to admit that Cora assembled the tree for us on Thursday so that we could have a nice tree decorating afternoon on Saturday as a family. We turned the Christmas music on and let Addie put all the kiddie ornaments on.On a funny-how-have-I-gotten-old-note, I caught my husband chuckling to himself as we were decorating the tree. I, or course, inquired about the private joke he was enjoying. His response was that when he was younger he never in a million years would have thought that a red and green quilted Christmas tree skirt with teddy bears on it would be in his living room. In fact, he said, he never gave the idea of a Christmas tree skirt a single thought. It's just funny how things change and now with two daughters so much of his life will be the equivalent of quilted Teddies on skirts. He's a great Dad for girls. My daughters are so very lucky!On crazy-my-husband-is-going-through-football-withdrawal note, I have jut been kicked off the computer because the Raven's game is on.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

visit with Santa

Addie was really excited to see Santa Claus today, it's all she was talking about. In her little head she must have thought we were going to see a cartoon Santa the size of the ornaments on the tree or in her story books. She was not keen on a real life-size Santa, who was a real person. She wouldn't sit on his lap but she did accept a piece of candy from him. She said "thank you" and "Merry Christmas". Bella on the other hand sat right on Santa's cozy lap and posed for a few pictures. We did a lap around the kids floor and then the wonderfully decorated home floor, drooling over all the ridiculously over-priced decorations. We were home in time to have left-over turkey dinner while Bella had her first taste of sweet potatoes and didn't bat an eye, as if she'd tasted them before. Justin pointed out she has been tasting sweet potato for the past few days in her milk so there you go, maybe she was ready for the real deal.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving was extremely special this year. I pondered being sad about not spending the day with our extended family, but then I decided not to be because the most important people in my life are right here with me today. I am very thankful for a wonderful and adoring husband. I am also thankful to be Mom to my two precious girls. Justin and I sat and watched as Bella attempted her first real crawling on all fours today. She is so close! Addie sang and danced and entertained our guest at dinner. She loves to be the center of attention. When the turkey came out on the platter Addie exclaimed that she wanted to eat it and it didn't matter if she had to wait for the rest of the meal, she'd just wait in her chair at the table. Wait she did and then she eat she did as well.

Today was a nice day to cook and enjoy the three other people I love best in this world. Plus the grin on my husband's face as he tasted my turkey and all the fixins was worth all the hard work and prep. He loved dinner and was even more excited that he would be enjoying my Thanksgiving meals for the rest of his life. Great day! I hope everyone else enjoys their Thanksgiving Day as well.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bella at 6 months (a little late)

Our Arabella turned 6 months on October 29! I'm two weeks late on reporting this milestone but I was also about two weeks late getting her to the pediatrician for her check-up so there you go. This girl is on the move now. She's scooting backwards now and sitting up confidently with no support. She rolls all over the floor from one toy to the next. Her personality is so fun. She's precocious, stubborn, inquisitive, and active. That smile just melts my heart. Our pediatrician said her heart "sounded good" she couldn't diagnose that the murmur was gone but said she wouldn't be surprised if we get good news at the cardiologist for our annual check-up. Hopefully the hole has closed on it's own. Her stats are great as always!
Birth: 20 inches, 8 lbs 5 ounces
2 days: 20 inches, 7 lbs 15 ounces
2 weeks: 21 inches, 9 lbs 15 ounces
6 weeks: 22 inches, 12 lbs 7 ounces
8 weeks: 23 inches, 13 lbs 8 ounces
12 weeks: 24 inches, 14 lbs 4 ounces
4 months: 25 inches, 15 lbs 6 ounces
6 months: 27.5 inches, 18 lbs 13 ounces

Thank you to Auntie Brienne for the adorable polka dot collection! She looks adorable in the yellow polka dot tank top.

another week gone

Life's been moving pretty fast lately which doesn't make much sense to me. One day it will be Monday and then suddenly it's Friday and I'm not quite sure what happened Tuesday through Thursday. There are plenty of afternoons that move by at a snails pace so it just doesn't match up how the time is passing so quickly. Everything is a blur when I'm not getting enough sleep. Bella had a really good month or two of sleeping and I was getting used to the four hour blocks of sleep I'd get at night with her waking up for the morning at 6am or later. This past week and a half have not been so ideal. She's been teething, gassy, and then caught a cold from her sister. On top of it all, she's transitioning to only two naps a day and just flat out refusing to even consider closing her eyes for a late afternoon nap which has led to some night terrors from over exhaustion. She's waking up at 5:30 AM or earlier. Phew! I'll admit this leads to very little sleep for me which in turn leads to a nasty, moody, irritated Mom/wife. Justin and I start competing over who is more tired and it just gets ugly. I'm very glad today is Friday because the weekend feels fresh and new ahead of me. Bella bean is (knock on wood) sleeping fairly soundly so far tonight and I didn't have to give her Tylenol, Motrin, Ora-gel, or Mylicon drops.The most frustrating part of troubleshooting my 6 month old is that the screaming could be any number of the ailments I described earlier. Is her gums bothering her, is the cereal giving her gas, maybe she just can't breath through the snot in her nose. Seriously, I wish she came with a dashboard that had lights that popped on to indicate what the particular problem is at that moment. Alas, it's trial and error and a achy back for me instead.I'm really glad my girls have their father's immune system and the ability to sleep off a cold within 24 hours. Amazing! One day there is a runny nose the next day it's gone. Thank God we don't have lingering colds and coughs like so many kids I know.

Addie is such a joy right now (energizer bunny fits too). This evening we played hide and seek and every time it was her turn to hide she'd reveal herself to me even before I was done counting. Then laugh and shout "Again". I'm in love with her response to any question being "well, maaaaybeeee..." or "'cause maaaybeee..." it's hilarious. The last two days she's insisted that I "paint" a kitty cat face on her with my makeup so she can be a kitty and meow around the house on all fours. As a result, she's had my charcoal eye liner on her nose and as wiskers on her cheeks. She likes to tear off her diaper now when she poops and bring it to me (AWESOME!). She has the ability to pee and poop on the potty but refuses most of the time. It's a control thing and I didn't have it in me to battle with her this week. Next week we'll work on it. She's been a great big sister lately; including her sister in games and play. I love that she says "Bella look-it" or "watch this Bella" assuming that Bella is her captive audience. For the most part she is!Even during hard weeks there are precious moments that I choose to focus on and hold on to as memories for when the girls are grown and at a place in their lives where they no longer want to sit on my lap after their naps. This morning Bella took a good two hour nap and just started talking when she woke up-indicating she was completely rested. I adore walking into her room and peaking into her crib to see her beaming smile. She starts arching her back and kicking her legs with the biggest grin on her face. Greetings like that are priceless. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Addie has school in the morning and I get the pleasure of picking her up from class. At 11:30 AM when Teacher Weng opens the door and lets the kids come out into the hall to find their Moms; Addie always has the most precious "I love my Mom" look on her face when she runs into my arms. Immediately she starts babbling about what she did at school that day.

Their may be bags under my eyes, dog hair stuck to the baby's drool, and Addie's perpetually wearing a soggy diaper; but life is still pretty darn good.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I was desperate to find some baby oragel here in the Philippines last week. We never needed it for Addie but, like everything else in life, Bella feels her first teeth coming in more intensely than her older sister did. I'm not getting much sleep lately. Motrin seemed to help a few nights. She's also getting used to digesting the cereal she's getting in the evening. She's tooting all night long. Bella chews on everything like most babies but can get her pacifier impressively far in her mouth to rub her gums on it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

2009 Marine Ball

Justin and I had an awesome time at this year's Marine Ball. We went all out and got a room at the Dusit Tani hotel where the ball was held. It was our first night away from the girls and I was pretty nervous at first. I got over it after a bit and really enjoyed the evening. The girls were in good hands with Cora and Lani all night. Addie was not pleased that we weren't there when she woke up in the morning and both girls were really excited to see us the next day. All in all they did really great for the first time. Plus we were only about 10 minutes away from home.

My dress turned out great and the look definitely took a turn back about 20 years when I got my hair done. It was very 80s: big and wild. I could have cried but instead decided to pull it off and be at the forefront of a new trend. Right?! Well I pulled it off because all night I got tons of comments on the hair style. Whether you loved or hated it-it was different than everyone else. I get so sick of seeing the same thing on women when they dress formally. Might as well have fun with it! That being said, I'm still trying to decide if I love or hate the new haircut. I have fringe!!!

Justin looked awesome in his tux as he always does and didn't mind one bit toting around and 80s rock diva all night. Cocktails, dinner, dessert, the ceremony, the Marines, were all wonderful. I love spending time with Justin's colleagues. Everyone in the Embassy community is really interesting and just plain good people. Lots of living abroad experience makes for great conversation and overall well rounded people. Not to mention that everyone loves a good party. We rocked the dance floor until about 1AM. In that time Justin got on the mic and sung along with Vanilla Ice when the DJ put it on. I handed him the mic and it was history in the making just like back in 2001 at Champs when he first sang karaoke to Ice Ice Baby and won my heart. It was captured on video so when I get a copy you WILL see it too! My man knows how to cut loose and he was the life of the party as usual. We hit an after party that produced a cheeseburger and fries that did wonders at 3AM! I had very little to drink because I was trekking back to the hotel room every 4 hours to pump (no rest for this Mom) but Justin enjoyed himself! It was a great party with great friends. We loved the long date night but woke up early thinking about our girls. We couldn't wait to get home.

I took some great pics of a few other dresses Frankie de Leon made! Addie wanted her ball gown on too and was extremely disappointed when we told her she couldn't come to the ball with us. One of my new friends SaraTeal was the IT color. We looked like a wedding party.My girlfriends Sunny and Jenny! Both beautiful Mamas.

Arabella at 6 months

Bella hit the six month mark right before Halloween. She weighed in at 19.6 pounds. She is growing like crazy. Right now she's sitting up all by herself and working on crawling. She's teething pretty fiercely right now. The drooling started at month 2 but she's just now experiencing some pain at night. It takes a lot to convince her to suck on the bottle. Tylenol has been helping but the poor thing is still uncomfortable. Hopefully they will pop through soon. Addie's first teeth came at 7 months. Arabella is pretty satisfied with the breast milk she is getting. Pumping every three hours and twice at night is AWESOME! (not really-especially since I can't eat dairy, curry, or any spice. Great for my figure though and I love being able to eat mounds of food). She's still taking two feedings at night so in a 24 hour period she's drinking about 30 ounces of milk-jeez no wonder she's growing. I rarely do the math! That's a ton. Anyway, everyone keeps asking if we've given her solids yet. I usually answer that she's getting plenty to eat (now that I've done the math-I KNOW she's getting plenty). Now that Bella is sitting up on her own she's ready to try some cereal and so she had her first taste yesterday. We stick with the whole grain baby cereal since serious constipation was a problem with Addie in the beginning. She spit most of it out with the tongue pushing reflex but she definitely liked the taste. Her favorite part was grabbing the spoon and chewing on it (teething!). I think we'll try cereal off and on this week and then maybe add in some veggies when she's ready. We will not have access to jarred baby food here in Manila so we will be making all our own at the house.