Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Happenings

Maribelle must have been a very, very good girl this year, because Santa left behind quite a haul for this little girl! We had a magical Christmas and loved seeing it through the eyes of our Little Miss. She spent countless hours gazing at the Christmas lights and tracking down Santas wherever we were, repeating the words "ho-ho" and "uhh-ohhhh" over and over again, pointing out Baby Jesus in the nativity scene, and enjoying the undivided attention of our extended family. She got to experience her first traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner (thankfully she loves fish!) and received her first pair of Christmas Eve pajamas from Sam the Elf. Even with all the commotion of the holidays, she was as darling as usual. I think she's well on her way to becoming a fellow Christmas addict like her mom and Grandpa A.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day




Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back it Up

Our house is currently overflowing with over-sized boxes of toys and four-foot tall gift bags filled to the brim with new toddler clothes, so that can only mean one thing ... Maribelle had a very eventful and exciting first Christmas, and an equally as exciting first birthday celebration. Our Ohio holiday extravaganza officially came to an end yesterday, and now I'm trying to get our house back in order before all the clutter gives me an anxiety attack. This could take weeks, people. WEEKS!

So much to recap, so let's back it up and start with a few pre-Christmas photos.

Maribelle and Jeremy attended my work Christmas party, where the Little Belle charmed my coworkers and had a MUCH better experience with Mr. Claus. In fact, she L-O-V-E-D him. The minute he entered the room, she started dancing and squealing. She even had ants in her pants the entire time we waited in line for her to sit on his lap. This girl needed her a "ho-ho" fix!

After the party, we ventured downtown to show Belle the Capitol Christmas tree. It was cold and blustery, but this little girl is a trooper when it comes to all things shiny and bright.

A few days later, Maribelle's trial run of Christmas morning came when the three of us celebrated Christmas early as a family in Maryland. As I expected, Maribelle wasn't very interested in pulling off the wrapping paper, so needless to say I've been opening TONS of presents this holiday. We bought her a Little People toy set, a small Cabbage Patch doll, a My Little Pony, a shape sorter and an assortment of butt cremes, bath products and pacifiers. She was actually a pretty big fan of the Desitin. Such a practical little girl.

Jeremy bought me a personalized Ravens t-shirt so I can fit in at the grocery store on game days when everyone (in their Baltimore accents) is buzzing about the Ravens and sporting purple and black. And yes, that is an Edward Cullen/Twilight pillowcase you see on the arm seat of our couch. Don't judge.

Ok, enough for now. Christmas Eve and Christmas day photos to come, as well as a recap of the first birthday bash. I'm off to sort through one more pile of Christmas gifts. Or at least move a pile to another spot in the house to make it look like I've gone through it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Jingl'in Belle!

Maribelle decided to put on a show for us using all of the instruments she can play so well!

Hope everyone had a great holiday.

(Blogger cut off the full video so click on the video link in the upper left corner "Maribelle's Christmas and New Years Party" to see it full screen.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowpocalypse 2009

We got walloped, and now we're digging out! From Friday night into Saturday night, we got pounded with about two feet of snow in the Maryland/D.C. area. It was beautiful to watch from the coziness of our home as we lit a fire, wrapped presents and noshed on homemade banana bread. At times the snow fell at the rate of 1-3 inches per hour, and it looked like we were trapped in a snow globe with the snow swirling around us. It was hard to get a good picture of the snow, but here are a few shots for perspective.

This was my favorite scene, right around the time Maribelle woke up in the a.m. We rarely use our basement and the fireplace, but the opportunity was too perfect to pass up during the snow storm. So glowy and bright!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Hampden, Hon

Baltimore has its share of interesting traditions, and the Hampden christmas lights on 34th Street are no exception. It's a short chunk of row homes whose owners just go all-out nutty with their Christmas lights. You can always count on the Christmas tree made of hubcaps, the porch packed full of animated Christmas figures and a general assault on the senses as you wander past the 20 or so houses that participate every year. The first year we went, Jeremy and I even encountered a toothless Santa Claus passing out hot chocolate to all the passersby. It's tacky, it's kitschy, and it's a wee bit strange, but it's totally Hampden.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

11 Months

Yep, I got the girl a tutu. All the cool 11-month-olds are doing it, so we had to follow suit. I've kicked birthday party planning into high gear these days, and I can't believe her party is only a little more than a week away (we're celebrating early over the holidays even though her birthday isn't until January 13th).

We're doing it big for our Little Biggie Smallz and her first birthday, cause, ya know, we have lots to celebrate now that we have this crazy girl in our life. I went with a Dr. Seuss theme, even though she's a bit indifferent about all those silly stories at this point in her life. But he's fun, ya know? And months ago Target had a bunch of Dr. Seuss-themed items in the $1 Spot, so, that kinda worked for me. (If you're planning on coming to the party, don't forget to RSVP!)

I really can't believe we're going to have a 1-year-old soon. I look at her every day and can't believe she's ours. I am so in love with this little girl and just get can't enough of her. I'm always amazed by how much I miss her the minute I leave her ... even at night, minutes after I've put her down to bed, I often want to run back in her room just to scoop her up and bury my face in her loveliness. I pray a million times a day that nothing bad ever happens to her and that she experiences all the happiness that life has to offer. Having a child is so much more than I could have ever expected it to be. Mom and Dad -- I totally get it now. Totally.

Last month I skipped over her 10-month update (bad mommy!), so here's a long overdue 11 month update:

* I'm always fascinated by what this little girl will eat, so I thought I'd list some of the more interesting food preferences she's developed. Our Little Miss loves to chow down on pickles, blueberries, shrimp/cod/salmon, and scrambled eggs. And like a good little Italian girl she also loves meatballs, bolognese and pasta fagioli. Really, she'll eat anything at this point, and the more seasoned it is, the better! This girl loves her some spices!

* She has three teeth right now (the two bottom front and one to the left of where her top front teeth will be), and it looks like she's cutting at least one or two more on top.

* She's wearing 9-12month clothing and size 3 diapers.

* She cruises everywhere, and she's fast! Of course with the whole no-crawling thing, we have to place her somewhere initially, but then she takes off. She's doing a lot of pulling up now, and loves to walk with her little push toy. Her favorite destination? To our television and stereo, where she turns the power buttons on and off for-ev-er.

* This girl's got skillz!! She knows so many tricks and amazes us every day with something new. Some of her impressive feats include throwing a small tennis ball for the dogs to go fetch (seriously, this is the best one!), brushing her hair and mommy's hair, raising her arms in the air when we say "Sooo big!!", saying "ho-ho" every time she sees a Santa Claus (and she's amazingly good at spotting them!), putting her head down when we say "sleeeeeepy babyyy," and waving to the dogs and saying "hiiii" to them whenever we walk through the front door. Overall, she is such an observant baby and loves to entertain a crowd.

* She's finally sleeping through the night (cue the chorus of angels singing, please!). She actually started sleeping through the night about two months ago, when she figured out that it feels oh-so good to sleep on her tummy. Oh, and we started letting her sleep with a pacifier at that point too. Things all sort of fell into place, and she just one day started sleeping 12 hours a night. And now I stay up later and later and still don't get enough sleep. It's crazy how that works!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Old Traditions

Growing up, it was a yearly tradition for my family to take a trip to Kraynaks in Pennsylvania, where each of us kids were allowed to pick out our own Christmas ornament. I remember painstakingly combing the aisles of Christmas decorations to find the perfect ornament. Today, those same ornaments adorn our Christmas tree and provide me with so many memories of those trips with my family. Today we took Maribelle to our favorite Maryland Christmas store to pass on that very same tradition.

Although she wasn't in the best of moods (she's cutting three or four top teeth and has been having a heck of a time!), she was pretty amazed by all the shiny, sparkly offerings. And she wanted to touch all of them. Which is exactly what I wanted! I had grand visions of her gravitating toward a beautiful, whimsical ornament (possibly one of Santa, since he's her new bestie, except not in the flesh form). And initially she had some great contenders for ornament of the year -- one was a sparkly motorcycle, and the other was an equally as sparkly wolf perched on top of a mound of snow. I mean, hey, they wouldn't have been my first choices, but I'm all about encouraging her individuality at a young age.

However, neither of those ornaments will be found on the Moorhead Christmas tree this year. No, of course not. Because somewhere along the way, Maribelle got her hands on a small box of German incense cones. And she wouldn't let go, no matter what sparkly baubles we tried to entice her with. So, the decision had been made: A box of German incense cones was exactly the festive touch that our Christmas tree had been missing.

Once we got to the cash registers, my sentimental self had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that a box was going to live on in history as her first ornament (although it is a pretty charming box, if I must say). I debated with Jeremy about whether or not I should just go back and grab the motorcycle or wolf that she originally had in her hands. But no, there was no taking this box out of her little hands without the entire store thinking we were somehow hurting her. So, this jolly little box made it's way home with us. And now, I'm tasked with the chore of turning it into an ornament befitting for a tree.

You better believe I'm turning to Martha Stewart for help on this one.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

First Snow

We got our first taste of winter today, so Maribelle and I spent the day indoors watching the fat flakes fall and enjoying cheesy Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel. However we've been anything but lazy! For most of the day we've been working on pulling up and TRYING to get this little girl to crawl (so ok, I take back the "we" part. Maybe I'm the only one who had a lazy day. Maribelle worked pretty darn hard!). It's just not happening, folks. This crawling stuff? She just doesn't want to do it. She gets so frustrated and miserable. I actually think she might figure out how to get into a sitting position from her tummy before she even figures out crawling. Or she may ditch the whole crawling thing and hold out for walking. Oh this little girl. How she has a mind of her own.

So when Daddy came home from work, Maribelle demonstrated her pulling up abilities. And of course she chooses to use his guitar as the perfect object to pull up on. She's such a daddy's girl.