Monkey Love

Christmas has flown past in a flurry of gifts and random sleeping schedules. For example, BellMay and Javi both slept in until 10:30 am this morning and here it is 3 am and I'm still awake...

I shall pay dearly for this when those chillrens wake up ready and rarin' to go at like 7 am tomorrow. But! I will be updating with fun pictures sometime tomorrow so stay tuned to this spot!

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Happy Birthday Javi!

My oldest baby turns 7 tomorrow. We celebrated a day early with several of his friends, including Camden, Hunter and Aaron.

These 1st graders enjoyed each other more than I thought they would - especially with the addition of Javi's favorite present: a foosball/pool table!

There was only one incident - which involved 3 boys with their pants down - but no one was harmed and no parents were outraged. Altogether, I call it a good party.

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Who's a monkey?

Bella is a jumper - and she's not waiting on a jumperoo to prove it.

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Milestone alert!

Bella Wayne is cruising! According to Billy, she was on her feet most of the night cruising up and down the couch. She'd fall and get right back up and keep moving.

Oh lord! She'll be walking before we know it! Somebody send in the reinforcements!

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Sassy Bella

My child goes from zero to 60. Just a few short months ago, we were worried that she wasn't rolling over. Today I had to drag her off the third step of our staircase and then block off the entire area to keep her away from it.

Now that she's a climbing somebody, we can't keep her from pulling up on everything and anything: your pants leg, a pillow hanging over the edge of the couch, the couch itself, the ottoman, the entertainment center, the laptop sitting on its side, her toy box, the dog. She wants UP ... now.

It's cute to see her little body stretched out like a real girl. She even crawls like a big girl instead of an army recruit at basic training.

Of course, to keep us grounded, there are still some things she isn't too interested in, such as holding her own cup or bottle. She'll hold them, but only if you force her and only until she's tired of it.

To celebrate her milestones, I'm finishing up her stage 2 foods and moving on to stage 3. I'm also going to begin feeding her from the table with everyone else. To do this, we'll have to find a highchair, but that shouldn't be too incredibly difficult.

Stay tuned to tomorrow when you'll get to see Bella in all her action via video post!

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Letter to Bella, month eight

Dearest Sass,

How did seven months pass so quickly? You've tackled many major holidays: Easter, 4th of July, Halloween. But you rocked my favorite holiday - Thanksgiving - with aplomb. Who would've thunk that you'd gum a piece of ham like a pro or that you'd go gaga for sweet potatoes (the real kind, complete with butter and brown sugar)?

But the real success story is all the time you spent in the car trudging through multiple states for your first national tour. We packed up on the day before Thanksgiving and drove through NC, VA, WV and KY until we wound our way to New Albany, IN where you met your Aunt Nicky, Uncle Ricky and Grandpa for the first time.

Ricky was absolutely smitten with you. I thought the stranglehold you have on Matthew, Ethan, Javier and Daddy was by virtue of their (relatively) long relationship with you. But, no, apparently any boy with a good heart will automatically fall victim to your charms. Hopefully this keeps up and no man ever breaks your precious heart.

After IN, we made our way back through KY to the Volunteer state. Daddy's people fawned all over you, but your favorite memory of the trip is a love of pickles - especially the spears, which you can hold on your own and which last forever. This love has carried over and now when you see a pickle, you whine and moan until you that pickle finds its way to your mouth.

Of course, that's not the only new food love you've discovered. You also lose your marbles on sight when we break out the graham crackers, goldfish, grapes, puffs, and anything that you see someone else eating. I've heard of babies who eat tablefood at this age, but I'm still careful to follow the 3-day rule - even if it makes you shriek at me on a regular basis.

But you've done so much more than eat! Your army crawl is so impressive. You started this last month, but you've refined your prowess. You can make it across a room in 2.5 seconds, especially if you see something you want. At home, that something is access to the kitchen. We have to keep the gate up because it's not the kitchen itself you want but the stuff in the kitchen. Namely, dog food. You've yet to sample its questionable goodness, but you love to grab the bits and grind them in your tiny hands.

You also cut your first tooth! I've yet to capture a picture of it because the thing is moving so slowly that despite a full week passing since it first broke through your steel gums, only the top ridge is visible ... and that's to the trained eye. Woe that cameras don't feel for pictures, but anyone who's had the misfortune of getting their finger in the way of your food has felt that little tooth with all its might.

You've also mastered the sitting position. You've been able to sit up on your own once we get you into position, but now I look over at you and you've pushed yourself into position. Often, you'll get so excited by this feat that you'll fall right back over, only to begin the process again. There's been one unfortunate side effect: Now that you've increased your elevation, you want to go a step further.

Yes, little miss, you are starting to be interested in pulling up. I put this way because it's only your (usually hesitant) top half. You'll grab onto something with both pudgy hands and lift your upper body until you can see over (or into) that object. Once that's accomplished, you just gnaw on the rim of the object until something else grabs your attention. For some reason, you're very interested in doing this with objects that will give - so we often find you tipping over Javi's homework tray or balancing precariously on a large ceramic pot.

Daddy is so excited by your development that he often lets you pull up on his hands and walks you around the room. You aren't quite ready for this because after the first step or so, your legs buckle and you lunge for a close object with your mouth. But, we have to keep you entertained because you've lost your love for the exersaucer. If we try to limit your travels by popping you in it, you thrash and whine until we put you back on the floor.

So, life is changing so quickly. Just as we get accustomed to one stage of your development, you go and change things up on us. Everyday is definitely an adventure as we hold our collective breath wondering what you'll do next. I can't wait to see your reaction Christmas and the bright lights and shiny paper it promises.

Here we come, month eight!

Love, Mama

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In the tub

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Talky Chickie

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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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Greetings from the Pumpkin Patch

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Halloween part 1

We thought our church's Trunk or Treat was after Awanas tonight, but it turns out they did it during Awanas. Not knowing this, I ran around trying to find Bella a costume because we cannot track down the ladybug costume I saved from Javi's first Halloween.

Can we take a moment to acknowledge that I saved that costume for almost 6 long years? Can we all shake our fists at the heavens that just when I'm all hyped up and ready to have Bella's first Halloween costume to be Javi's first Halloween costume the darned thing disappears?

Okay. I'm over it because I used my creativity and made something just as cute. I got the Angel bib from Kmart, paired it with white tights, a pink long-sleeved onesie, a pink beret and silver mary janes to create the perfect Angel costume. I don't believe a cuter Angel ever existed. And, no, I'm not at all biased.

She's going to be a fuzzy pink bear on Halloween because I don't think this costume is warm enough for walking around outside all evening. Of course, she'll be under a blanket in the stroller so the pink bear sleeper may find its way back to the store come Thursday.

Anyway, the comments want to know how cute this Angel is. :)

Of course there are more pics on our Flickr page.

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She Inches!

Okay, so Bella's been rolling her way around the house for a while now. She sees something she wants? She rolls over to it. Lately, she's been getting into downward facing dog during that rolling.

Tonight? She started putting that down dog with the roll and - bam! - she's chasing her pacifier and the cat around the room. This precursor to crawling shows us that the baby proofing must be done ASAP. Here's a video to enjoy.

There's a longer one, but it's super dark because we took it before I got the bright idea to turn on an overhead light. Click here to view it.

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My Daily Life

Bella is sleep a lot lately. When she's not asleep, she's gnawing on anything and everything she can fit in her mouth. This includes chewing on her own gums. Three times I've tried to fish whatever she's chewing on out of her mouth only to find that there's nothing in there - she's just biting down on nothing.

The poor thing needs something to erupt from her gums soon so she can relax a little. Luckily, this isn't keeping her up at night - but it does make her extremely uncomfortable while she's awake.

So, to keep myself in great spirits, I've taken to tracking the relationship between Daphne and Tiger. Not only do they have the same coloring - they seem to have the same personality, as well. Very sweet, very loving, and very - very - needy. Since I won't cater to them, they've turned to each other for comfort. Here's how we usually find them:

Notice Sassette's weird hair pattern? Yeah, we hope the hair fills in soon. She also loves keeping an eye on the animals. Neither of them get away with much on her watch.

In fact, today I had to separate her from Tiger because they were getting into too much trouble together, what with Tiger refusing not to lay right up against her and Bella refusing to stop trying to get Tiger's paws in her mouth. Yep, this is my daily life.

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Bella's First Swing

Sassette took her first ride in a real swing this past Sunday at Kiwanis Park. She thought it was okay, but really chewing on it was much more fun than swinging in it.

You have to check out our Flickr for some great pics taken by the talented Laura Bruce, as well as some snapshots by yours truly and the Javinator (who might be a budding photographer).

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Mom's Birthday

My mom turned 60 last week! We had a surprise birthday party for her at El Rancho Caribbean Restaurant in downtown Sanford.

I'd like to take a minute to pat my sisters and myself on the back. We planned and prepared for the party without a single argument and without mom having even a clue that something was up. She'd have been completely clueless except Francis kept calling - which made her suspect something.

But we had a great time! You'll have to click on our Flickr badge to see all the pics, but here are a few of my favorites.

Grandma & Bella:

Bella & Ethan:
Bottom of the Hill cake homemade by Laura Bruce:

You can tell I have a Bella bias. :) Oh, and there's a close up of the lady at the bottom of the hill on Flickr as well.

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I forgot to mention we went camping the first weekend of October. We packed up both cars and headed out on Saturday morning for an overnight stay in the woods.

Were that it was that simple! I must've brought everything Bella owns - the bumbo chair, the pack & play, several jars of baby food, 15 outfits, 10 blankets, socks, hats, 2 bathing suits, a million bibs, etc. I probably needed 1 of each of those things - but if the world ended or our house burned down while we were gone? Bella was set!

Everything was going great until Sunday. We set up camp and had lunch before taking the boat out on the lake. It's drastically low, but we still had a great time. Then Jeremy and his son came out and rode around with us. I stayed on the boat w/ the kids while the crazy men swam in ice cold water.

We came in for lunch as the sun began setting - around 6 pm these days. Billy got a fire going while I set out everything for dinner. We had steaks, corn on the cob, salad and cucumbers in vinegar for dinner. Then while Billy snacked on swiss cake rolls, Javi and I dipped green apple slices into a cup of caramel pudding for the perfect, low-cal caramel apple taste.

Actually, Javi had about 2 apple slices and then went through a half bag of roasted marshmallows. He was sticky and dirty so we trooped up to the bath house for showers. Billy stayed at the campsite with Bella, so I had to bring Javi into the women's bath house.

I got Javi cleaned and dressed w/o him seeing any naked lady parts and we went back to the campsite for a movie. We were about halfway through Bridge To Terebithia when the day caught up with Javi and he crawled into his tent. Billy and I stayed up for probably another hour before we called it a night as well.

Tell me why I had to pee like 18 times that night? And I had to unzip the tent sloooooowly so as not to wake Bella. All deals were off, tho, when Javi fought his way out of his tent at 6 am and then peed right outside our tent. It sounded like Niagara Falls - and of course Bella was up after that.

Billy made eggs for everyone and we went on a little walk. I thought this day was going to be uneventful. I should've known it was too good to be true. First, I realized I lost my bathing suit and sundress. I searched everywhere for it before realizing I left it at the bath house the night before. Of course it wasn't there - and it didn't show up in lost & found.

We should've just packed it in and gone home, but noooooooooooooooo, we had to enjoy the day. So Billy and Javi are down playing football while I get me and Bella ready for a day on the boat. Unfortunately, I had too much stuff in my hands - including Bella - and lost my footing...

I just knew I was going to land right on top of Bella, so I tried to twist so that I'd land on my back. It didn't work, but I did save Bella from being crushed to death ... except she scraped her forehead on the gravel. It was horrible and I still feel like a bad mom 2 weeks later.

But, we all survived and Patch Adams (as Billy called Bella when I forced her to wear a big white bandage on her forehead) has healed nicely. Let's just say I'm not interested in camping again any time soon!

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Playing Catch Up

I haven't updated in a while. The good news: That's because we were so busy. The bad news: That's because we were so busy. :)

In the week or so since our last update, we've had 2 football games, several practices, a Bowl-A-Thon, a Scouts meeting and "Belt Loop Frenzy," the fair and Grandma's surprise birthday party.

Javi and Bella both enjoyed the fair, though Javi made much more of his time there than Bella did. He got the all-night pass and we got every nickel of our money's worth. Like last year, he rode every ride multiple times. Unlike last year, he refused to ride anything was completely tall enough for.

Rather, he only wanted to ride the things required him to stand on his tiptoes to get on. And he refused to let us ride anything with him. This includes the Super Shot, the Himalaya, the Pirate Ship and the Dragon, as well as miscellaneous fun houses, slides, jumping booths and games. It was the Dragon that did him in. He got off the ride, looked at Billy and said, "Okay, Dad. I did not like that one at all."

Bella just hung out in the stroller while Billy and I shared a funnel cake and butterfly fries. I slipped some cider vinegar in with the ketchup so they were just tangy enough to suit both our tastes. You can tell the fries were the highlight for me. :)

Belt Loop Frenzy was an all-day affair that took place in a pasture in Harnett County. I'd like to see it was fun and exciting, but that'd be a lie. It was hot and grassy and not well organized - but Javi had a blast and walked away with belt loops for football, baseball, basketball, fishing, maps and compasses, geology and soccer. Some scouts camped out, but we made our way home about 5 pm. Needless to say, we aren't looking forward to doing that again any time soon!

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Jumping Javi

We hit the fair last Thursday. Javi had a really hard time flipping backwards. Poor thing must be heavier than they thought. Billy was convinced he needed to be connected to all the resistance bands. Nevertheless, he jumped his little heart out and then gave up despite having several minutes left. Apparently, he was "just too tired."

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BW Needs A Nap

Poor Billy was out of sorts this morning. I suppose it was the lack of coffee, but today at work, he bent down to scratch his ankle and noticed something wrong. Can you spot it?

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Letter to Bella, month six

Dear Bella,

Your first fall is slowly approaching and with it comes the soft, sunny days we both appreciate. You enjoy taking in the sights and sounds of the outside world; I enjoy how you require no external stimulation when you're not stuck in the house. It's sad, though, because being outside is a sign that 1) it will soon be cold and 2) you are learning that At Home is not always where you want to be.

You are the big 0-6 today. Just six short months ago, your dad and I were examining your perfect fingers and toes, exclaiming about what a thick head of hair you have, and falling in love with you. Today you've laughed, screamed, cried, eaten, slept, and attacked the cat - but your fingers and toes are still perfect and our love for you has grown exponentially.

Sassette, you are the funniest, happiest, lovey-est baby I've ever known. I gain a pound every time you rest your sweet, furry forehead on mine or your face lights up when you look at me. It's complete saccharine and I can't get enough of it.

You're getting to be a big girl, too. You love to play sitting up, though your "I'm so excited to see you!" personality gets you in trouble because you get so excited you fall backwards. You also fall over when Tiger or Daphne pass by - then you get mad because you can't follow or grab them. You try your hardest to sit up from any position and cry when you can't quite get there.

Speaking of the pets, you love Daphne, but Tiger the Kitty is your absolute favorite. You've already put his foot in your mouth and today you allowed him to lick bananas off your hand. If Tiger is in the room, you struggle to get close to him. Usually this is to get some part of him in your mouth, but he doesn't seem to mind that you want to eat him. Go figure.

Sitting up isn't your only trick. You can also put your own pacifier in and I think you'll be crawling soon. You'll push up on your toes into a down-dog position, then drop one knee and try to drop the other, but then you flop over. Of course, just like when you learned to push up, your arms go completely unused. Those squishy arms are always the last one invited to the party.

But I'm okay with you not crawling for a while. You already scoot around wherever you want to go (hello, wherever Tiger is). I am not ready for you to be able to crawl into other rooms or toward dangerous objects (yes, Tiger I'm talking to you). I guess it'll be time to baby proof soon - ack! yet another chore.

I haven't fed you as much solid food this month. You went through some weird bout that included really runny poos, crazy diaper rash, a low-grade fever and lots of crankiness. I kept waiting for a tooth to break through, but one day all your symptoms just disappeared. I don't know if it was a coincidence, but I stopped all food except for formula right before the symptoms cleared up... so I just never started them back up.

But you're a huge fan of oatmeal mixed with bananas, so I decided to let you eat that in celebration of your Half Birthday. You tore it up, but the sweet monkey in you did share with Tiger so that was nice. Of course, I think you were trying to lure him in for dessert, but that's just a hunch.

In general, you continue to amaze and amuse me. I love that we've spent the past 6 months home together. I have been tossing around going back to work outside the home, but it feels me a suffocating anxiety. I don't want to think about someone else having the pleasure of being in your company all day, someone else watching you crawl the first time, and - most especially - someone else hearing you utter your first words (which I know will happen any day now).

It's not easy being a work-from-home mom, but you, my sweet Sass, make me happier than I could have imagined.

Love, Mama

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