Milestones Alert!

I have to brag on my baby! I have no pictures or video to go with this - but we have:

- one bottom tooth! Okay, it's only the ridge but it's THERE!
- sitting up all by herself! She's only done it 4x in the past 2 days but's she's DOING IT!
- pulling up! She's only done it 3x in the past 3 days and I don't think she means to do it, but still!

I'm inordinately excited about these three things. The sitting up makes me the most happy bc she did it on my birthday (Tues) so I'll always remember exactly what day it was. Of course, it was a little traumatic for her bc she did it in front my mom - who jumped up and down while clapping and yelling YAY BELLA - which freaked Bella out and cause full on meltdown crying.

The pulling up thing also started Tuesday. I came around the corner and she was half up on this large, heavy ceramic planter that's in the living room at my side job. At first I blew it off as her trying to see into it, but then it dawned on me that a) she doesn't know that planters have insides and b) she was half off the ground - which means that whether she was trying to see into it or not - she had to pull up!

Later that night she grabbed the collar of my shirt and tried to haul her body up closer to my face (I was wearing glasses) but only succeeded in yanking my shirt down. Then yesterday she tried to get up on top of Javi's SpongeBob tray. We're so proud of her!

I keep telling people who don't have kids and they're like "oh, great, yeah... so anyway...." Totally not the level of reaction she deserves! Also, I feel like that tooth is her first baby - it took FOREVER to push it out but now that it's here, we all love it and keep staring at it with weird lovey faces. I promise to update with pictures as soon as she lets me in her mouth!

Yay Bella!!!!!

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Billy and I both love our grandmothers, albeit in different ways. I've not seen mine since I was a kid but she has been a constant presence in my life. Billy grew up around his and doesn't always condone her actions, but loves her unconditionally.

So, when he got to introduce his baby girl to her this weekend, you could tell that it made him happy. Granny was tickled to death, too. She's very old, so while no one has mentioned it, these might be the only pictures we get of Bella with her.

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After leaving IN, we stopped over in Knoxville to catch up with Billy's people and break up our trip. Javi loved meeting his Uncle Jim and Aunts Sonja and Trisha. Everyone just keeps getting older!

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Slick Rick & Nick Nick

We had a great time with my dad and his family this past weekend. Javi and Nicky formed a slightly disturbing bond whereby they wrote love notes to each other (completely G rated of course) and spent every moment together. Here are a few pics:

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What I learned...

I've discovered the best pacifier ever for my Sass: PICKLES! The spears are her favorite because she can gnaw on them for a long time, but she'll be happy with pickle chips, too.

This knowledge has already come in handy. Yesterday at Ruby Tuesdays she was getting fussy. I ordered up a plate of pickles and let her go to town. The best part is she doesn't even make a sour face - she just dives right in!

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Holiday Blur

The past two weeks have a blur of seemingly constant motion. We had family Thanksgiving on the 17th so that everyone could celebrate together before we headed out to visit my dad in Indiana.

I made the turkey, ham, cornbread and wild rice dressing, sweet potatoes, macaroni & cheese, and deviled eggs. Billy's mom brought baked beans and made mashed potatoes. Mom put together a big spinach and fruit salad and Ashley made my signature Asian green beans. We also had rolls, cobbler, cheesecake, apple pie, and two types of Edy's ice cream: apple pie and pumpkin varieties. Yes - there was a LOT of food.

But we also had some great company to share it with. Of course my family (Mom, Erin, Ashley, Matthew and Ethan) and Billy's family (his mom and stepdad) were there, but we also had Aaron Berry and Stephanie Bright, Tony and Billy's step grandad Bobby.

Everyone ate until we were stuffed and then we sat around reminiscing about the good ol' days growing up. It was so nostalgic because Ashley, Aaron, Stephanie and I spent so many years together back when our families were tight. We all just laughed so much that this might have been my favorite Thanksgiving.

Then on Wednesday we packed up and headed to Indiana. It was touch and go, though, because Javier came home sick from school on Tuesday and couldn't keep food down all day. We left for our trip with him snuggled in the back with a throw-up bowl (his favorite one!) and an ice cube for him to suck on because we still weren't letting him have real food.

The 12-hour drive was uneventful except for poor Javi's fear of starving to death. We stopped at Shoney's in Virginia because they had a soup bar. We fixed him up with a bowl of cabbage beef soup and a slice of dry toast with a cup of Sprite. He tore into all of it as if he'd never eaten before and then had a mini-meltdown because he wanted to take refills in the car with him. I think he really believed he would never eat again!

So, no throwing up in the car for Javi and only slight drama queeness from Bella made the trip LOOOONG but pretty pain-free. We did realize that Ms. Thang does NOT like being in the dark. If she can't see what's going on, you'd better be holding her - or else! We kept her occupied with graham crackers and the mini DVD player but wouldn't you know she only liked the parts of Nemo without sharks or whales? I don't know if you know this - but there's not much going on in Nemo that doesn't feature a shark or whale?

But once we were at dad's we all relaxed and proceeded to have another great Thanksgiving. I think this might be the first one I've spent with him. I made the turkey and his girlfriend Chris made tons of other yummy sides. My little sister Nicky is a vegetarian, so we had lots of non-meat options.

Poor little Javi had existed on ice cubes, lukewarm broth, dry toast and juice boxes up until Thanksgiving dinner so the child ate with gusto. Between bites he would exclaim: "This is the best ______ ever! Thank you so much for making this _______!" It was so cute, but a little desperate at the same time.

So, after two super-filling Turkey Day dinners in two different states, you'll be surprised and amazed to know that I have NO PICTURES of Bella Wayne's first Thanksgiving. NONE. However, I know that Ashley took a few and my dad took a few. So somebody better start the sharing!

More to come on our trip ... soon!

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My children

Every day in this house brings some kind of crazy. Here is yesterday's:

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Letter to Bella: month seven

Dearest Sass,

Something you should know about your mother: She procrastinates, then feels anxiety about procrastinating, and then puts off whatever task it was she procrastinated...

With that said - Happy 7 Months! You arrived at this stage of the game all arms and legs and pudgy stomach scooting your way across the floor to whatever jingly, shiny object you wanted. Your favorites: Grandma's school badge, my keys, Ashlee's glasses, Daddy's watch. Like a monkey, you performed your tricks of mobility for cheering crowds and wowed us all with your ability to get around through a combination of rolling, inching and sheer determination.

You're a big girl, now. You've conquered your first Halloween in no less than two stage changes. You started the holiday as an Parisian Angel complete with beret and silver Mary Janes and then you ushered the day out as a fuzzy pink bear in a costume way to big for your little body. But you rocked it all the same.

The past month flew by but you managed to truly wow us with a) your demanding personality and b) some awesome consonant sounds. I don't hold your separation anxiety against you, though, because it's still so cute that you fall apart when Daddy enters the room and then leaves it without acknowledging you. And it makes me giddy with power when you collapse into a pool of hurt because I left your field of vision. No matter where you are, who's holding you or how content you were before we exit your presence, you never fail to wail when you realize we're not hanging on your every move.

Of course, I am a little bitter that despite how I spend every day all day with you, you've chosen to say dadadada and babababa instead of even attempting mamamama. I mean, I'd even be okay with mmmmmmm. But, no. You will even look at your daddy when you babble dada. And then (as if to test me!), you look at your brother and babble babababa. Yeah, it stings a little. But that's okay because sometimes you look at me and say those sounds. I can't hold it over anyone's head, but I know that's your way of letting me know you see me, too, even if your mouth isn't ready to let me know that.

We had another fun day with the pediatrician this month. Unlike the last visit, which left me frustrated with a doctor's attempt to label you at risk for obesity, this doc seemed to understand just how marvelous you are. At 16 lbs-14.5 ozs and 26.5 inches long, you sit solidly in the 60th percentile. Your head, however, is a big ol' 90th percentile melon.

You can't help that head, though. Like your eyes, eyebrows, ears and face shape, that head is the direct result of having Billy Miller as a daddy. Along with those dinstinctive features, you get boundless love, complete devotion and only a little bit of pressure to be THE BEST little girl on the block.

We've been working on fattening you up this month, but we haven't been offering you juice, snacks or more than a jar of babyfood a day. That's changing, though. The doc advised us that we should feed you solid foods three times per day (!) and it's time to offer you juice in a cup (gasp!). I'm pretty skeptical about the cup, I have to admit. You're the child who still doesn't care to hold her bottle - so unless I hold the cup up to your mouth, I don't know how you'll get any juice out of it.

Now's the time to give you mad props on handling your second round of immunizations. Whereas last time you screamed randomly and for no reason for the next three days, this time you took it like a pro and slept off any craziness. When I say slept, I mean like you'd never slept before. You took several loooong naps and then slept all night like a rock. The next morning, I was so nervous that Bad Bella would wear her nasty head, but you arose smiling and happy as always.

Despite all these 6-month milestones, you've yet to produce any pearly whites. This is not for lack of trying, though. You chew on anything and everything you can fit in your mouth - usually with the help of a waterfall of drool. Several times, I could've sworn there were raised bumps, swollen areas, and touches of white. Yet, as soon as I try to show those to a witness, they disappeared. I keep hearing about babies who don't get their first chomper until 10 months or later ... I don't think I can take another 4 months of build up before getting any payoff!

You have two big holidays coming up in the next two months. I can't wait to test you on table foods at Thanksgiving and to see your face light up when you first spot the shiny presents under an equally shiny tree. Every day with you is an adventure, though, so I know there will be a plethora of gorgeous moments between now and then.

Love, Mama

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Quickie: 6 Month Stats

Bella finally had her 6-month check up - she'll be 7 months on 11/3.

Birth stats: 7 lbs 6 ozs, 21 inches
6 month stats: 16 lbs 14.5 ozs, 26.5 inches

She's 60th percentile height and weight - perfect all around, according to Dr. Reese! Of course, he did mention she has a huge head (90th percentile) but that her head's always been big for her body so that's nothing new. :)

He recommended that we move her up to the next stage car seat and offer her solids 3x per day. He also gave us a thumbs up on juice.

She got two shots - cried for a little bit and then again off and on, but went right down for a nap and has been asleep for 2 hrs now. I'm hoping she wakes up in a good mood!

So much for that obesity lecture from last time! Dr. Reese (same office, different doc) told me to ignore everything Dr. Lloyd told us and to ask for him from now on. YAY! This visit was sooooooooooo much better than the last one!

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Halloween 2007

Bella's first Halloween wasn't that memorable. She got loved on by a few folks and then passed out in her car seat. So, we scooped up Daddy and all went out together in the car. First I drove behind them while Daddy and Javi walked, then Dad and I switched.

At the end of the night, Javi had 2 bags full of treats and toys. He was hyper, but nothing compared to Sassette. I let her have a little suck on a Snicker bar - huge mistake! She was bouncing off the walls until midnight last night and then woke up twice during the night. She never does that!

Her costume was huge on her, so we're taking it back today. It was just a winter sleeper so we shouldn't have any problems getting our money back. I think I'll use the refund to pick up more footed sleepers and a pair of soft boots!

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