Tuesday, April 27, 2010

15 months

I've been struggling with how to encapsulate all that is Miss Maribelle Rose these days, because now more than ever, she is such a dynamic, entertaining and complex little lady. It was so much easier to do these sort of updates when she was, say, a six-month-old, because frankly, there wasn't a whole lot to report. But as a 15-month-old, she's busy, she's opinionated (a smidge bossy, shall I say), she's silly like her daddy and always, always keeping us on our toes. And that's not even a fraction of all that is Miss B. But I'll do my best in presenting a mini snapshot of the little person she is becoming. I apologize if this gets long ... she's doing so much, and there's nowhere in her baby book to record all this stuff!

Weight: 21.8 lbs (25th percentile)
Height: 30 3/4 in. (50-75th percentile)
Head: 46 cm (50th) percentile
Wears a size 4ish shoe
Wears between a size 12 and 18 months
Wears a size 3 diaper

Here's what Maribelle's up to as a 15-month-old:

Baby sign language rocks our socks! With the encouragement of our daycare provider, we've taught Maribelle quite a few baby signs, and let me tell you, they are an amazing, amazing communicative tool. It makes life so much easier now that she can actually tell us what she wants. Some of the signs are honest-to-goodness real sign language, and others are just made-up motions that we connected to a certain word or action. She's the master at "more," (displayed in the first photo below) which was the first sign she learned a few months ago and was a literal breakthrough. I can't tell you how useful it was for her to learn this word, and it seemed like once she realized that these silly gestures were in fact effective, she picked up on a few other signs right away. Seriously, you show this girl once and she's got it down cold. She uses "all done" (shown in the second photo below), "daddy," "hungry," "cold," "hot," "up," and "milk" on the regular all day long.

* We have a climber! Seriously, it looks like she's channeling Evil Knieval in this photo, which is who she's become in her own sort of way. All of a sudden climbing is the coolest thing since Yo Gabba Gabba, and it's been keeping us on high alert! It all started when she mastered climbing on to the couch about a week ago, and then proceeded to climb onto the dishwasher door, the doggy steps in our bedroom and the little riding toy you see here. It's actually pretty comical when she tackles this riding toy, as she scrambles on top of the seat, slowly finds her footing and raises her hands in the air like she's a regular circus side show. She also loves climbing all over her Dora couch and her other favorite apparatus: me. Don't worry, the dishwasher jungle gym is no longer open for business, and her riding toy antics are only approved under adult supervision.

Outside. Oh my gosh, PLEASE don't mention that word in her presence, and PLEASE don't say the word "swing" either. That is, unless you want to spend at least one hour pushing her on the swing (because any less isn't good enough) and feel like wrestling a little midget to put on her shoes and/or coat before she goes outside. We've been spending lots and lots of time at our neighborhood playgrounds and area parks, because they seriously keep Maribelle entertained and me sane.


* Talking. She holds intense conversations with herself, but the problem is we have no idea what she's saying. She's awesome at saying "Hi Daddy!" and not only greets Jeremy that way, but also says the same when she sees me or the dogs. Sometimes it's debatable whether she is actually saying "Hi Doggy!" when she sees the dogs, but it's plain as day that she is in fact NOT saying "Hi Mommy!" She's awesome at saying "that" and "this" and sometimes we get a "What's that." We're doing a lot of identification of objects these days, sometimes ID-ing an object two and three and ten times in a row. We're pretty sure she also says "thank you" or something close to that, and she's been working on "baby" and "ball" as of late. And if it's animal sounds you're looking for, you're in luck, because she can imitate a dog, monkey, bird, fish, owl and cow.

Other notables worth mentioning:
* She can identify many parts of her body, including hair, ears, eyes, nose, teeth, belly, fingers and piggies (toes).

* She loves to tell the dogs "ahhh, ahh, AHHH!' when they bark, as if she is saying "no, no, NO!" And she's been known to say it to people, too (such as other kids at her daycare, whenever anyone cries. See what I mean about being a smidge bossy?)

* She's still a great sleeper, sleeping between 12 and 13 hours a night, and taking one nap a day, usually for about two hours. And unfortunately, she still sleeps with a pacifier (and I'm dreading the day we start eliminating this).

* She loves using a straw and is figuring out how to use a spoon for eating instead of playing. And if competitive baby eating was a sport, she would totally be a champion. People are always amazed at just how much food she can pack away in one sitting. Yet she's still so tiny! She hasn't met a food that she won't eat, and her faves at the moment are blackberries and mac n' cheese. She's also transitioned really well to only drinking one bottle a day (at bedtime).

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Story of Us

We met while working in a coffee shop. I was a senior in high school, and he was attending art school in Pittsburgh. I had a thing for bad boys, and he had a ponytail, played guitar and regularly rocked out in the local music scene, very much looking the part of a bad boy (only to find out he's the nicest boy I'd ever meet). He made me laugh for hours every time we worked together behind the bean counter, and I started slowly growing more and more intrigued. At a casual work function, he played his guitar and entertained everyone with his silly songs. Then, that same night, he played "Everlong" by the Foo Fighters. There was something about the way he sang that song at that very moment that made me melt, and I was hooked. A month or so later, we went to my senior prom together. He forgot my corsage, and I was in awe at how nicely he cleaned up. The next day, as we were driving back from our after-prom outing, there was a moment when I looked over at him in the driver's seat and felt an overwhelming sense of calm and peace wash over me. It was in that defining moment that my heart nestled into place with the tranquility of having found my other half. I knew we were perfect for one another. I knew we would grow and change together. And I knew we would get married.

Here we are, 12 years later, celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary together. He still makes me laugh, he still entertains me with his silly songs, and he still makes me melt with the love that he exudes, especially for the little family that we've created. I know I'm amazingly lucky to have found the love of my life, and I count him as one of my greatest blessings every single day. Happy anniversary, babe!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hippity Hoppity Happy Easter Day

I realize Easter was soooo a week ago, but someone (moi) left her camera at work for a week and couldn't access the photos that documented our joyous Easter visit to Ohio. But fear not, the photos follow! And there's actually a lot to document, so I hope you can keep up.

First, let's take a short jaunt to Pittsburgh, shall we? Both sets of grandparents graciously offered to watch the Little Belle while Jer and I made an overnight visit to one of our favorite cities. Back in the days when Jeremy and I were dating, we spent a lot of time in the good old Burgh and haven't been back for quite a while. So we took in the sights, had a delicious dinner and got our fill of Italian goods at the strip district. Well, maybe we didn't get our fill, because I wouldn't dare say I could ever get enough of anything Italian.

Now on to Easter. Basically Maribelle's Easter was dominated by two major activities, which she wanted to repeat over and over and over again: sitting on a porch swing with Grandpa A, and opening the musical Easter card that Grandma and Grandpa A. gave her.

Anytime Maribelle would go by my parents' front door, she insisted, with lots and lots of pointing and whining, that someone take her outside on the porch, and usually it was Grandpa who would happily oblige.

And the Easter card ... ohhhhh, the Easter card. My parents bought a recordable card and loaded it with the song that gets Maribelle groovin' like no other: Kid Rock's "All Summer Long," or rather, the opening of the song, which is actually Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London." It's my dad's ring tone on his phone, and yeah, she basically spins her head off whenever she hears it. A sample performance, if you will ...

Other Easter highlights included the most intense Easter egg hunt ever, in which Maribelle diligently fetched EVERY plastic egg and put it in her basket like it was her job, and an amazing Easter dinner cooked ENTIRELY by Jeremy himself. No joke, he prepared lamb, potatoes, asparagus soup, ham and other accoutrements for a dinner party of 18 and didn't even break a sweat. And everyone raved about his stellar performance. Top the holidays off with some quality family time with all of Maribelle's aunts, great aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents, and I would say we had an epic Easter.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Field Trip

 I still have vivid memories of one of the very first field trips I went on as a kid. I was in first grade, and we had been learning about dinosaurs for weeks, hearing all about their eating habits, memorizing their hard-to-pronounce names and gazing at countless picture books that depicted their strange appearances. My faves? Stegosaurus and brontosaurus, hands down. It was all so intriguing to me, yet so hard to grasp. Which is why I was totally psyched the night before our first-grade class embarked on a field trip to a museum that was featuring a dinosaur exhibit. I have no idea which museum we went to, or even what city it was in, because honestly, at that age, it's so not all about the details. You know what it's all about? Who you're going to sit with on the bus and what you're going to buy at the gift shop. I remember having such a hard time falling asleep the night before the field trip because I was so consumed with a) getting to see REAL dinosaur bones, b) riding a bus and being required to "pack a bagged lunch," and c) getting to spend a few dollars in the museum gift store to buy dinosaur memorabilia. It's all very exciting stuff for a first grader.

And I kinda felt the same way last night as I prepared for today's daycare field trip to the Maryland Science Center. Except this time I was preoccupied with thoughts of a different kind ... ones that ran wild about all the germs and infectious diseases she might bring home from the fully tactile and hands-on section of the museum we would be visiting.

Needless to say, though, I let her touch things and enjoy her little field trip. Once I saw just how much she loved playing with all the contraptions, buttons, balls and water tables (her favorite!), I quickly remembered the importance of just letting kids be kids. And the importance of always having a bottle of hand sanitizer close by.