Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A Year in Review

My, my, my, we've come a long way.

I begrudgingly went back to work in February 2013. I was miserable for many reasons, not least that I missed being with my babies. A new job closer to home in October 2013 has helped tremendously, and I'm entering 2014 a much happier and more optimistic person. My freelance work has also taken off like a rocket, and I hope to keep increasing that business as well. On the mom front, I continue to love it. It's frustrating and exhausting and inspiring and fulfilling in ways I never knew existed. Watching these two little people grow into full-fledged personalities is just incredible.

Blue has continued to kick butt at his job and has shown himself to be an amazing father to Periwinkle and Indigo. I hear horror stories from other moms about their useless husbands and count my lucky stars I married someone who believes parenting is a partnership. He's home with the kids today. Did I detect a slight look of desperation as I left him with one baby toddler crying and the other climbing the stairs? Perhaps. But I know he pulled it together. I hope he still has the energy to give me a kiss at midnight.

Indigo has gone from a watchful, cautious, worrying baby with a powerful set of lungs to an active, hilarious, somewhat less cautious boy with a powerful set of lungs. He figured out how to climb the stairs first and has taken a few shaky steps all on his own in the past few days. His laugh is one of my favorite sounds in the world. It is so full-bodied and joyous. Everyone should laugh like that. He is, thankfully, still my snuggle bear. I just wish he'd get over wanting mama snuggles at 2am.

Periwinkle is sassy and knows what she wants. She is vocal and her vocabulary seems to increase every day, and she is starting to use the sign language as well. She is determined and strong-willed. She saw her brother climbing the stairs and within a day was doing the same. She wants to walk everywhere holding my hand. She is exhausting. And she is still my mini-me, right down to the curls at the nape of her neck. She is always looking around and taking it in, as she has since the hour she was born. Seeing her discover new things is one of the true delights of being a mother.

On the horizon for 2014: selling our house (I'll be a wreck) and buying a new one (exciting but daunting) and continuing to raise two of the most amazing kiddos anywhere. And yes, I am biased.

Happy New Year, all!

January 4, 2013


December 30, 2013


Monday, December 9, 2013

Fun Facts

1. Indigo hasn't bitten anyone in over a week. Yay! I feel like we should have a countdown (countup?) for this. Something like this:



2. Black Cat knocked over our tree this weekend, scaring the beejeezus out of all of us, but especially Indigo, who was perilously close to said tree. I thought we'd lost all our glass ornaments, but shockingly only two were shattered and three were broken and hopefully fixable.

3. Periwinkle and Indigo are apparently the "mayors" of their daycare room. They wave and say "Hi" and "Bye" to everyone who comes in. Everyone. When should I start teaching them to not talk to strangers?

4. They have perfected the "Who, me?" face. For example:


5. They look ridiculously cute in their hats. See here:


6. Periwinkle is really into mimicking. We've gotten her saying, "Wow", "Boomer" (White Cat's name, although it is more like "Booma" so she's got the Boston accent down even though we live nowhere near there), and "Tree," which is more like "tee". Pretty exciting stuff. Time to stop swearing, pronto!

7. They are obsessed with pouches. If they see me packing them in the diaper bag they flip out until I give them one. We have to be very stealthy with the pouches, or it's meltdown time. Luckily this means they eat all sorts of veggies quite willingly via these pouches. They do also eat whole veggies, but the pouches are great for when we are out and about. I recommend Ella's Kitchen, Sprout, and Plum Organics.

And that's it for today. I just thought you'd all like to know these things. Have a great day!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Letter to Periwinkle at One Year (or 13 months)



Dear Periwinkle.

Happy thirteen months! So much has happened since I last wrote I just couldn't bring myself to sit down and write it all down. I'd much rather hang out with you.

You say several words now: kitty, ball, book, hi, bye, uh-oh, mama, dada, and more. You also sign "more" and "all done" and "milk." And when I ask you how old you are, half the time you stick up your index finger: ONE! You also babble quite a bit, making up words as you go. You and your brother both say "Ah-boo" constantly, and I just wish I knew what that meant.

You are a trouper when your brother tries to bite you, but you exact your revenge by often bonking him over the head with whatever toy you have in your hand. So you each have your own behavior issues that we need to work on!

You cruise like a pro, and can even walk a few steps holding only one of my hands. I definitely see you walking by Christmas! You wear us down by insisting on walking from here to there, there to here, and back and forth again and again. You are so proud of your walking skills, I just love how your face lights up with such joy.

You've become a pickier eater lately, refusing eggs and avocado, so I am constantly on the hunt for new foods you will try and eat. I made cauliflower tots that you really enjoyed, so I will have to make them again soon! At least you still like cheese.

Your hair is getting longer and curlier. You definitely have my hair! I need to find barrettes, or you will be in pigtails every day! Either that or we cut your bangs, which I don't want to do yet. You don't seem to mind your hair in your face though.

You have transitioned to sippy cups very well, although we still do bottles in the morning and at night. I'm hoping you transition off the pacifier at naptime as easily, but somehow I don't think that will be the case. When you are done eating your solid food, you let us know by dropping pieces onto the floor next to your high chair. Sometimes you do the "all done" sign. I prefer that, just so you know.

I can't wait to see what changes the next year brings! You are such a fun and loving little girl (although feel free to get over the "Mommy all the time" stage any time now) and I just love spending time with you, even if I do collapse into bed at the end of the day.

Happy (belated) birthday, little girl!

Love,
Mama

A Letter to Indigo at One Year (actually, 13 months)

Dear Indigo,

As I sat here wondering where the past year went, another month went by. Now you are on the cusp of walking, taking jolting, Frankenstein-like steps while holding our hands, with such pride. You crawl like a speed demon, and are now able to get up to the second step on the stairs. You unsteadily get yourself halfway standing, from the floor, holding onto nothing at all. We've even seen you stand on your own for a few seconds here and there. You are a baby on the move. Actually, you are a little boy on the move.

You weighed 23lb 6oz and were 30 inches tall at your one-year visit. Your face looks more toddler than baby, and it's about time I got you fitted for shoes.  Most of your clothes are size 24 months. Yikes!

Thankfully you seem to be going to sleep easier. All it takes is my horrendous rendition of "Twinkle Twinkle" while rubbing your chest. If only we knew this months ago! It makes all of our evenings so much better, and I'm sure Periwinkle appreciates it too!

You can say so many words now! Kitty, book, ball, more (I think), hi, uh-oh, mama, and dada. You also say something that sounds like "Ah-boo" repeatedly but I don't know what it means. Your sister says it too, so I'm wondering if it's some kind of twin code. It probably means "Cause chaos!" because you two often do.

I'm hoping you catch on to more words and signs, because you are getting very frustrated lately. I feel so helpless when you get that way, because I just want to help you but I don't know how. You've even taken to biting, but I'm hoping we can put a stop to that soon. We worked on sharing a lot this weekend, so we'll see what daycare says when I pick you up.

We are also taking away the pacifier during naps, have switched to milk from formula, and you now get two sippies and two bottles instead of four bottles, although you are drinking far less now that it is milk. But never fear, because you are a bottomless pit! You shovel food in without a care and somehow manage to swallow it all without choking. Thank god. You scare me sometimes!

You love putting things together and taking them apart. You especially love knocking down towers we build with stackable things. You are fascinated by the Megablocks and can spend quite a while (in baby time) assembling and disassembling. You love your giant Mickey Mouse stuffed animal and pusher toy, too.

You are exhausting. By the end of the day Daddy and I are in need of a vacation, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Watching you learn day in and day out, watching you explore, make friends (or enemies), discover new toys or new ways of playing with old toys, seeing your devilish grin as you go after things you know you shouldn't, and seeing you finally, peacefully, sleeping fills me with such joy. You are such an incredible little boy and I am just in awe that I had anything at all to do with that. Daddy and I will help you navigate this great big world as best as we can, but you've definitely already made a place for yourself in it.

Happy (belated) Birthday, little man!

Love,
Mama

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Letter to Indigo at Eleven Months

Dear Indigo,

My little cuddle bug. You've come a long way from being that scrawny "velociraptor" you were in the hospital, although you've still got quite a set of lungs. Lately I've been wondering if you are confused and think you are going to be turning two, not one, because you seem to be breaking out the temper tantrums a bit. You seem to get into fights with the shape-sorter cube on a daily basis, which end in you face down on the blanket screaming. We really wish we knew why you were getting so frustrated, but we'll keep trying to help you out.

Turning into a little boy.

And the other side of the coin, you are a gentle, sweet, and loving little boy who loves snuggle time with Mommy and Daddy, but especially Daddy. You've gotten into the habit of crying at bedtime again. We don't want you to prevent your sister from sleeping, so we remove you from the room and you end up falling asleep on one of us. The past week or so, I've tried to break this habit. I'll hold you until you are calm and sleepy, but awake, then put you down in your crib. You start to cry again but I quickly soothe you by rubbing your back and behind your ear. Eventually, you are asleep. Last night I didn't even have to hold you (but I did miss those snuggles). I just kept rubbing your back. If I stepped away, you started to cry, but a reassuring, "Mama's here" calmed you down again. I think you miss us. I think we don't get enough time together during the week so you just soak it up on the weekends and at bedtime. I'm sorry, little man. We miss you too.

More hugs!

But you are making so much progress at daycare and we are so proud of you. You are getting better at waving, and are a pretty awesome high-fiver. You stand with such pride, and I know you'll be walking, holding our hands, just as fast as your sister, any day now. But best of all, you are so expressive. You tell detailed stories with such earnest facial expressions, such perfect inflections of your voice, I can almost understand what you are saying in your baby babble. I do love a good story.

High Five!

You are definitely having fun testing your boundaries. You will repeatedly grab at bottles in the wine cabinet, turning around to look at us with a sly grin when we call your name and tell you no before reaching for them again. You think the tray of DVDs under the TV is yours to play with, and you recently discovered one of the cabinet doors moves. Part of all this is the many bumps and falls you've had as you realize the ottoman rocks back and forth and the new stroller will roll away from you if you try to pull up on it. But you keep trying. You are one determined little boy.

You braved your flu shot at the doctor's office, and are 22lbs even and 29.25 inches long. Your head circumference is 46cm. You are in 55th percentile for weight, 58th for height, and 69th for head size. Basically, you're right on track!

Trying to escape?

You are really into books lately, especially the one that makes animal noises. Every time I push the puppy and it barks, your face gets this look of such astonishment and delight and you give a little shout as if saying, "Mama, did you hear that? Amazing!" It's perfect. You like turning the pages, even if you are holding the book upside-down. And you love pointing to the kitties. I think you are making the connection with our two kitties, and I love it.

Nothing like a good book

One of the best parts of my day is still picking you two up at daycare. The second I walk through the door and you two realize I'm there, it's off to the races. The baby races, that is. You both just bolt for me across the floor. If I pick one of you up, the other will cry. If I pick neither of you up, you both cry. There is no winning. But I just love how excited you are to see me, because I am just as excited to see you. We put on some kids music in the car on the way home and have a grand old time singing along to "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Old McDonald." You seem to really enjoy the sound effects.

Let the race begin!

I love you, little man, with a "moo, moo" here and a "moo, moo" there.

Love,
Mama

Checking out the ground

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Letter to Periwinkle at Eleven Months

Dear Periwinkle,

Eleven months. Is that it? Only eleven months knowing you; your smile; your sweet, sleeping face? Impossible. You bring such joy to our lives every single day that it seems a part of us must have been missing before you came into the world. And lately you have been bringing that joy in such fun new ways.

What's up, Mama?

You can now wave and say, "Hi!" in this adorable, chipper voice. One rare night when you fought going to sleep, I was holding you and you just kept waving and saying, "Hi!" like that would somehow save you from bedtime. "Look, Mama, I'm doing that thing that always makes you smile! See, I'm waving!" It didn't work. Mama won that battle. But it was damned cute. We're working on "Bye" now, although you will wave and say, "Hi" as we leave a place. Daddy says we should have taught you "Ciao" instead, since that works both ways. We'll get there.

This past week you also brought "Uh oh" into the picture, out of the blue. You'll say it and then drop something (wrong order, sweetie). And sometimes we'll just hear this little voice from the backseat saying, "Uh oh." Always with a slight pause in between. Daddy and I just crack up sometimes because it is just too cute we can't take it anymore.

Red Sox girl (to Daddy's chagrin)

You also learned how to high-five at daycare. I'm hoping since you are getting good at these hand gestures you'll soon start doing some of the baby sign language too, especially "all done" and "more." Sometimes you don't want your whole bottle anymore and you slap it away and we end up with formula everywhere. A simple hand gesture would be much cleaner, thank you.

So much hair!

You've also started sticking up your pointer finger. I'm trying to get you to associate that with the question, "How old are you?" so maybe by your birthday (in only a MONTH) you'll be able to proudly raise that little chubby finger in response. We'll see how that goes.

You also seem to be using that finger to actually point at things. You pointed at the Cat in the Hat stuffed animal Grandpa G got you but then seemed apprehensive when it got closer to you. You two are still in negotiations about physical boundaries, it seems.

Pointing at the Cat in the Hat

Another foe is the big orange ball. It started out in the pool but has come inside since your brother really likes it. But we keep it away from you because if it gets to close to you, you cry and cling to us. We get it, baby girl, we'll keep you safe. Except in "Chloe's Color Book" (thank you Citrus Lane) there is a big orange ball, and you always point to it when we get to that page. Always. And almost never do you point at anything else in the book. It's as if you are working up to the REAL orange ball by touching the one in the book. You'll get there.

Exploring

You are now a pro at walking around holding our hands. You pull up on your crib constantly and are starting to make your way around it on your own. You pull up on basically anything you can. A few times, you've been standing holding my hands when you let go, and you stood on your own for at least five seconds before you fell onto your rump. I don't think you even realized what you did, but I was so proud.

Not the safest choice for pulling up

You're also quite the prolific artist. In your new daycare room, where you are doing quite well and are apparently the "boss", even of kids older than you (that's my girl! Taking after Mama!), fingerpainting is a near-daily activity. You've painted apples, leaves, handprints, and a snake. I guess it's time to buy some art supplies for our house!

Turn off the flash, Mama, it's 6am
This month we went to the Big E in Massachusetts with Grandma and Grandpa. You saw lots of big animals and were very brave around them, and also quite fascinated by them. You also went to the doctor. You are now 20lb 13oz and 28 inches long. You got your flu shot like a champ. The doctor said you are perfect.

I'm so proud of all your accomplishments this month. You are so engaged with the world around you and you just soak it all up. Keep learning, little girl. Learning is pretty awesome.

Love,
Mama

Starting to "read" books



Friday, August 30, 2013

Biting Begins

Indigo got bit at daycare the other day, by another baby about his age. I really didn't think this started this young, but I guess they are all almost a year old so... he got bit.

Not actual biter
Apparently all the babies were playing together on the floor when Indigo started crying and hitting this other kid. This being rather out of character for our mellow man, they picked him up and noticed bite marks and a very red leg. Poor guy. He started his day with a mystery bruise on his other leg, and now this. So I got two phone calls from daycare in one day. They went something like this:

"Hi, this is Teacher from DaycareNOTANEMERGECY. But we wanted you to know that..."

I just loved the quick "Not an emergency!" line to calm me down in case I freaked out. Good thinking.

By the second phone call, the one about the bite, all I could do was laugh. And then I felt terrible for laughing that my son got bit. It was more laughing at the cruddy day he was having than at the fact that he got bit. But I'm pretty sure the daycare lady thought I was horrible.

They felt really bad about the whole situation, and iced his leg and gave him some extra cuddles, and wrote it all up in a report I had to sign. I'm assuming the biter's mother got a similar sheet to sign, although I don't know which baby it was. I'm sure they are under careful surveillance, at any rate.

Daycare is closed today for teacher training, so Blue is home with them watching Upside Downton Abbey on Sesame Street and getting far more out of it than they are. If the weather permits, they'll be going on walks and playing on swings and having a grand day while I toil away at work. Boooo!

And next week they start in their new class with their new teacher at daycare. They never ended up getting any "transition time" with her this week, so I really hope it goes smoothly, especially considering how attached Periwinkle is to Miss S. Fingers crossed...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Letter to Periwinkle at 10 Months

Dear Periwinkle,

You, my little baby girl, are giving us a run for our money. You are now a speed demon at crawling, and before I've walked out of the room you are halfway across it trying to follow me. You crawled over to the liquor cabinet the other day and tried to open it. Time to get some latches on the doors! If we put your bottle on the floor, you give a little cry then crawl over to it at super speed. It's adorable. It's also time for baby gates, as you put your arms up on the bottom step, so I know attempts to climb the stairs can't be far behind.



You're holding steady at two teeth, which you show off with your adorable open-mouth grins. You're using those teeth to tear through chicken, pork, and black beans, which seem to be your new favorite food.



This month you had a lot of firsts. First bath in the big tub. First time in swings at the park. First time in a grocery shopping cart. First eight steps while holding my hands. That's right. You walked a little bit! And quite speedily, at that! You've also pulled up in the crib a few times, although I still haven't seen that.



You also got your first denim skirt and your first pigtails. Completely cute.





You seem fascinated with putting things in buckets and taking them out again. I hear this is an important learning game for you babies, so I'm proud of you for working on it so intently. However, you are seemingly terrified of the large orange ball we have. Your brother loves it, but you just start shrieking.



In general, you sleep great. It doesn't seem to matter how you nap during the day, at 6:30pm you are out like a light. And at 6am, sometimes earlier, you are awake and chipper, sitting up and trying to pull up on the crib. You also try to get toys off the shelf next to your crib, so I sometimes find those in your crib with you!

You are my little troublemaker for sure, and I love you for it. I can only imagine what you have in store for us as we get closer to your first birthday!

Love,
Mama










A Letter to Indigo at 10 Months

Dear Indigo,

I have to admit that this one snuck up on me for real. One minute we were in Rhode Island celebrating nine months, and the next we are here, a few days past ten months old. It doesn't help that I was two weeks late with your nine-month letter. Where did August go?



This month you mastered crawling backwards and watched with longing as your sister worked on going forwards. The past few days you have begun moving forwards, albeit slowly and with little control. You've also gotten very good at pulling up to standing while holding our hands, and you've even tried on the couch and in your crib. And you're doing very well in the walker.



You are still giving us trouble at bedtime. Your new favorite thing seems to be falling asleep in Daddy's arms. This is a habit we sadly have to break. I think if we get your naptimes and waketimes right during the day, you will fall asleep more soundly at night. I hope. We just need to get daycare on board! I often walk in to your room to find you sitting up and grinning, simply not ready to fall asleep. Or sometimes, you are sitting up and screaming.

In the morning you and your sister are both sitting up in your cribs, sometimes trying to stand, grinning and chatting away. It's one of the cutest things I've ever seen. There have been days when you are both sitting with your legs through the slats, as if trying to get as close to each other as possible. I love it!



This month you have tried pulled pork, roasted chicken, mango, and black beans. You've loved it all! You even gave oatmeal another try and seemed okay with it. You seem to be slowly reducing your formula intake, although some days you still drink all 32 ounces. My little big man!

You've been making some hilarious faces lately. Sometimes you just look so surprised or concerned. You've also finally gotten a tooth! I think a second is on its way. I hope you sleep better after that!



You also took your first bath in the big bathtub, with your sister. You really liked it the first week, but the last two times you've cried. Maybe you were just tired. I want happy bathing boy back! You would wiggling and splash and play with the toys. You really loved it. I hope next time you are in a better mood!



Only two months to go until your first birthday. That is so crazy! I keep seeing news about hurricane season and I'm brought back to cuddling you in a powerless house after Hurricane Sandy. How far you have come since then!

Love,
Mama









Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Letter to Indigo at Nine Months (pretend I wrote it two weeks ago)

Indigo,

Sorry I'm so late writing this. It's going to be hard going back in time two weeks, because you've accomplished so much since your nine-month birthday, but I will try so I have something to write about in two weeks when you turn ten months old (slow down, will you!?).

This month was a busy one for you. First off, you and your sister got baptized on June 30th. You were completely adorable in your white outfit. You didn't cry when the priest poured water over your head. In fact, you pushed off against Daddy and almost went all the way in!

Baptized babies!

The next day we took you both out to eat for lunch for the first time. You were both very well behaved. You enjoyed little pieces of what we had, and you didn't even throw much onto the floor! You saved that for your toys. I think you've discovered a new game... We enjoyed it so much, we took you out again later that week! It's so nice being able to do that now. It gives us a little bit more freedom and flexibility. We just have to make sure we time it to your naps so you aren't super cranky in the restaurant!

What mashed potatoes?

You also went into the pool for the first time. You weren't sure at first, ever my cautious little man, but you love it now! There's a big orange ball you like to chase around, although one time Daddy may have bounced it off your head a little too vigorously.

During our week on the beach you showed off how well you sit up on your own now. You even started doing a little bouncy dance while you sit. It cracks me up. You just get so excited and can't contain it, so you bounce and make your adorable little excited noises. You do this every time you see one of the cats. Unfortunately it usually scares them off. You'll get to play with them someday, I hope.

Supportive big brother


You've also gotten more steady on your feet, although you don't pull up to standing yet.

When we brought you down by the water you were very, very concerned about the waves. You would cling tightly to us, tapping us on the shoulder and grunting as they came closer, as if warning us to watch out. But by the end of the week your cautious fear had turned to cautious excitement, and you even let us dip your feet. But in general, you preferred the kiddy pool up on the beach.

A wave is coming, Mom!

Fun in the kiddy pool with Grandma!

You were really thrown by the new location and sleeping in the pack n play. You cried. A lot. You took hours to go to bed the first four nights. You woke up your sister. We eventually split you two up, gave you a mattress pad, sang you many songs, told you many stories, and by the end of the week you were sleeping fine. Daddy and I were very grateful that Grandma and Grandpa would take you and your sister in the morning so we could sleep in, to make up for your not letting us go to bed before 11pm the first few nights.

Even with a bad night's sleep, you're adorable (not from vacation, just another rough night)

You're still working on teeth, although I think your bottom two are on the way. I hope they come soon!

It's hard to believe there have been even more changes and achievements since then! I love you, little man!

Love,
Mama


My dapper dude



Friday, August 2, 2013

Food at Daycare

Inevitably, 10pm rolls around and I realize I need to pack food for daycare. I always have a stash of pouches on hand, but I like to use those sparingly, preferring to put together my own menu for them. But in a pinch, pouches rule. I've used Target's Up and Up brand, as well as Ella's Kitchen and Plum Organics.


But seeing as we're trying to do less purees and more textured food, a la Baby Led Weaning, I don't use them often. I've begun encouraging the daycare workers not to mush the food up completely and spoon feed, but rather to just put it in front of the babies and let them try to figure it out. They do really well with Cheerios so I know they can do it, plus I've seen them tear into a banana and a piece of hamburger without issue. Unfortunately I don't think daycare is quite ready to give them big chunks of food, so little chunks or mashed food it is.

Indigo gets upset because he just wants the food in his belly, and can't always grasp it, so they usually end up spoon feeding him in the end. But Periwinkle gets her hands dirty and has fun with it. That's my girl!

So today I sent a little bowl with half a scrambled egg and a cut up strawberry, for each of them. They might need to be fed the strawberries as they are little slippery pieces, but I know they can mash them up just fine with their gums so they should be okay once they get them in their mouths. And the egg was in big enough pieces they should be able to pick them up. I'll see when I pick them up how they did... I was pretty proud of that little breakfast menu so I hope it was a success! I've never sent those items before, so it'd be nice to have this new option available in the future!

I also microwaved a sweet potato (a fairly small one) and mashed it up a bit (but not too much). They each got half a potato. I also sauteed some baby spinach (baby spinach for babies!) in some EVOO. What started out as two cups of spinach got reduced to about 1/4c. sauteed spinach each. I mixed that in with the potatoes, and I'm hoping they just grab it all with their hands and get nice and messy trying to eat it.

A lot of my twin mom friends say their babies are only drinking 24oz. of formula/breastmilk these days. Mine still drink 30-32oz. Fatties? I doubt it. I think they just aren't being forcefed three pureed meals a day so they are still relying on formula for their nutrition, which is as it should be right now. They are trying new foods, learning how to use their hands to feed themselves, and not necessarily filling up on solids. Which is the whole point of BLW. Food is fun until one!

Any other suggestions on fun foods I can send to daycare? Stuff that is easily mashable by little toothless (or nearly toothless) mouths but that they can still feed themselves?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Letter to Periwinkle at Nine Months

Dear Periwinkle,

You got to celebrate your nine month birthday at the beach, on vacation with us, Grandma and Grandpa, your aunt and uncle and little cousin. Not bad!

With Indigo, Grandpa, and Grandma
 We did a little photo shoot on the beach with Uncle B the day before, with you in your red sun hat. You weren't in the best of moods, but you still looked adorable.

A shot by Grandma during your "photo shoot"
We went to the aquarium in Mystic that week, too. We weren't sure how much you would get out of it, but you seemed very intrigued by the stingrays and the penguins. You weren't quite sure what to make of the sea lions or little fish, and were just done with the whole thing by the time we hit the belugas, but we will definitely take you again sometime as you get older. You were both very well behaved, which was great. Even when a torrential downpour started up just as we went outside!
 
Oooh, penguins!

I feel like most of your achievements this month happened during that one week at the beach. You got ridiculously good at pulling yourself up to standing. It now seems like one of your favorite things to do. You lean over to me and try to grab on to me so you can pull up. So far though you still need to be holding onto someone's hands for you to be successful. When you get to standing you grin, so proud of yourself. Sometimes you even take a half step or two. And sometimes you think you can let go of our hands and end up back on your bum. But you always try again. Keep trying, little lady!

Standing with Grandma

You popped your second tooth that week, too. That's right, you have TWO teeth now! And plenty of drool-covered cloths and empty boxes of tissues to prove it. You had some ornery days (surprise, surprise) but generally came through like a champ. We're lucky it didn't really affect your sleeping at night (thank goodness). Your brother took care of that for you.

A chilly last day at the beach
You're eating a lot of foods, including cut up strawberries, scrambled eggs, toast, Cheerios, pieces of meat from whatever we are eating, and the trusty standbys of sweet potatoes and yogurt. Oh, and broccoli!

Happy little broccoli trees

You got very good at crawling backwards to get where you wanted to go this past month, and now can go forward, but that technically happened after your nine month birthday so we'll save that for next month's letter. Your hair is getting longer and thicker, and possibly lighter, and your eyes are almost totally brown now. I enjoyed your baby blues while they lasted!

A little curl! Brown eyes! So grown up!

You are still chatty and smiley in the morning. It just makes my day to see you grinning at me like that. I keep talking to you and doing some baby sign language and hope that soon you will be able to communicate with us a little bit. You raise your arms up when I go to pick you up, which I love. If you are on your tummy and you know I'm going to pick you up you still lift your arms and raise your chest up high so I can grab you. I'm convinced you will be a rock star at Pilates.

You enjoyed the Fourth of July and managed to sleep through the fireworks, thank goodness. You've gone in the pool several times, in a little orange float we got you. You need to stop kicking your legs because you will propel yourself OUT of the float, and that scares me a little bit. But you definitely enjoy the water. At the beach you seemed to want to jump out of our arms to go into the waves, and you were okay with getting your feet wet. We have a little fish on our hands. I was a little fish too.

On July Fourth
Ready to go in the pool!

I love seeing all the ways you are like me and all the ways you are so different from me. You are such an awesome little girl and I love you beyond words. Happy nine months, baby girl!

Love,
Mama

On the ferry en route to Rhode Island. You weren't quite sure how you felt.