Let's Play Ball!

Yes, it sometimes takes me forever, but I've finally got some good shots of Javi and Billy rocking t-ball. And, yes, my boys are quite handsome. What you can't tell is that he's the tallest on his team, has a great arm and loves to give everyone - the opposing team, the kid standing on his base, the kid whose base he's standing on, random people in the stands - a big ole thumbs-up.

Camden & Javi

He loves to slide

Billy's a bit worn out, but Javi's ready for another round.

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Ancient Times (aka: the 80s)

Javi has somehow gotten the idea that the 1980s were centuries ago and that to say something is "from the 80s" is tantamount to calling it archaic and out of style - and the person caught in possession of something from this long ago era should be ashamed.

So today we were working on some sign language because he's really into learning a new sign everyday and I'm really into anything that keeps him from bouncing off the walls. We go over the signs he already knows: help, hello and goodbye, girl, out. Then we come to the sign for boy.

He was having a hard time remembering the sign, so I said, think of it like the brim of your ball cap. He responded, "but girls wear ball caps." So I tried to explain that back in the day, girls weren't allowed to play sports and they definitely didn't wear ball caps, hence it's a symbol for boy.

Javi looks at me, so earnest and understanding, and says, "Back in the day? You mean like 1988?" I had to just walk away. For the record, I was 12 in 1988 - those were good times, buddy.

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Have gas? Will travel!

Guess who's hitting the beach this weekend? We are! I'm a little inappropriately excited considering I have to finish up a work project and really don't have time to squeal right now.

But squeal I'll do. Also, did you read Harry Potter? If you answered no to that question, we need to talk. I finished Deathly Hallows on Sunday and it was - in a word - AMAZING. I really enjoyed it, though it's not my favorite of the series. I loved getting so many questions answered, though I still have more that went without resolution - but I'm okay with that.

Beach pictures will be in full effect on Monday!

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Grandma's Girl

Bella is the type of baby who doesn't want to miss anything - and I mean anything - that is going on in the world. Whether we're at a Weight Watchers meeting or just walking around the neighborhood, her head cranes in the direction of any sound or movement.

So that's what made tonight so sweet. Grandma came over to visit with Bella, and the baby was on the verge of sleep. Of course, she popped up when she heard Grandma's voice. But, as soon as Grandma picked her up, Bella laid her big old head on Grandma's shoulder and passed out.

Yes, that pretty much sealed the deal that Bella has Grandma wrapped right around her finger. :)

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Phoenix Rising

I saw Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix today - by myself. We had no sitter and I refused to wait any longer (I could've gone by myself yesterday for $0.50 cheaper).

It was well worth the weirdness of sitting alone in a crowded theatre. I wish they would've broken the book into two movies, tho, because as it was - 2.5 hours was simply not enough for the deep, intricate plot lines in OTOP. Everything in the movie felt rushed and choppy.

Some random thoughts from the movie (MINOR SPOILER ALERT):

- Poor Draco was reduced to a bit part in this one. And they gave him Duran Duran hair.
- There was a Voldemort montage in which my brain kept screaming: It's Voldemort's glamour shots!
- Did Arthur Weasley get hair plugs?
- They wrote out Marietta and blamed Cho for squealing on the DA! And there were no DA coins - how are they going to work that out in Movie 6?

Of course, Harry (known as Daniel Radcliffe to some) was hottt. I feel gross saying that, but it is what it is. Poor Ron, though. The years haven't been as kind to him. I'm sooooooo ready for Deathly Hallows now!

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Say Cheese

Day after day I force Bella to spend at least 30 minutes on her belly. Of course, I break those minutes into managable chunks of time based on her tolerance level. Yesterday was the first day that she actually seemed to enjoy it. Well, she didn't scream and thrash around so I'll take what I can get.

In fact, even though she refuses to use her arms, she wound up teetering on her side for a good 30 seconds before flopping back down her belly. The Ricky Bobby hands were in full effect for that one. She also grabbed my thumb yesterday and pulled it into her mouth! That one little milestone should not have excited me so much, but what can you do?

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Batter Up!

Javi had his first tee ball game on Monday. Of course, in the detailed planning (getting me to the gym, Bella to my mom, Javi & Billy to practice before the game), I completely forgot the camcorder.

Highlights from the game: Javi was on first base for the first inning of the game. However, instead of mastering the dual task of watching the ball and watching the runner, he focused completely on blocking the runner - which meant at least 3 times the ball flew right by his head while he stared down the approaching runner.

For the second inning, he was positioned between the pitcher's mound and home base. His job was to catch any punts and race to home base to strike out the runners from third base. However, there was no one on third for the first three batters. Nonetheless, my kid got that ball and ran fast as he could to home while the parents all yelled "throw the ball, Javi!" Each time he got to home base before a runner (duh!), he'd turn back to us and give a big thumbs up.

For the last inning, he was between second and third bases. The game was starting to fall apart at this point thanks to the uber-short attention spans given to the 5 and 6 year olds. The inning was almost over when Javi just couldn't take standing around anymore and ran over the dugout to ask his coach "Can I take a break? I'm bored!"

Luckily, Billy is the parent coach for Javi's team so all the coach had to say was "Go ask your dad." Javi got his self right back to his position. When the game was over, the kids were all throwing their hats and fists in the air. I promise pictures from the next game - it's just too good to miss!

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Bumbo love

The Bumbo chair has earned a permanent spot in our hearts now that Ricky Bella can sit up without having to be in someone's (anyone's!) lap. I took her outside this morning before it got too hot so she can enjoy sitting up in a place other than the middle of the living room floor. She was obsessed by the grass but I did get a little giggle out of her.

Top secret: Don't tell her daddy but the neighbor's dogs (Chloe & Cheyenne) were running loose and Chloe was in the bushes right by the tree where I sat Bella. While I was busy finding the best, most ant-free position to take a picture, Chloe creeped out of the bushes and was thisclose to licking Bella's face. Luckily I stopped that, but thank goodness Chloe is a sweet old dog and not some crazed hellhound. Bella likes puppies so she had no clue there was anything wrong with having a grizzly old Beagle in her face.

I realized you don't get a great view of her Mullet/Storm Trooper hat - also purchased at Target on the 4th - so here's a close up of my darling daughter. Billy only made her wear it backwards once. She's really Ricky Bella in that thing!

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Quote of the Day

"Bella looks like my grandfather, all hanging off the side of her chair like he used to when he was drunk."

--said by Billy while watching Bella sit in her new Bumbo chair.

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Letter to Bella, month three

Dear Bella,

You are three months old today. Your body has come such a long way from those first few weeks after your birth when we were trying so desperately to breastfeed. Formula has been our best friend as you continue to round out and get the chubby rolls babies are known for.

I suppose my favorite part of this is your cheeks. Growing up, I was terrorized for having large, protruding cheeks that family and strangers alike just had to reach out and pinch. Now, my dear, that legacy is passed on to you. When you smile, you’re all face and it stops people in their tracks. Just today Ashley was about to walk by you, but when she looked down you gave her a dazzling cheeky grin and she couldn’t stop herself from getting engrossed in it. I said simply, “She got you.”

I tell people every day that you’re a hustler and it’s true. Even when you’re asleep, you have the most amazing ability to steal the spotlight. These days, you go to bed routinely between 10 and 11 pm and sleep peacefully until 7 or 8 am. We know you’re awake as much by how much the bassinet moves as by your grunts. That’s because somewhere in the stretch of deep sleep, you turn sideways. Yes, every morning when I go to you, I find your head smooshed against one side of the bassinet, your feet against the other and vast expanses of empty space on either side of you. One morning I saw your feet before I even got the bassinet because you had them slung over the side.

It breaks my heart because I know that you are soon for the crib. That means you’ll be tucked away in your own room, in the bed you’ll sleep in until you buy yourself another one (yes, it’s a convertible) … connected to your daddy and me by only a monitor. But, I know you’ll be okay, that the newborn phase is winding down. I see it passing when you reach out for your Sassy mirror or the Kermit and Big Bird wrist rattles we affectionately call your Friends because you babble and smile at them.

One of your favorite past times these days is staring at your hands. In fact, you’ve earned the name Ricky Bella because they seem to sneak up on you, like you’re not quite sure what to do with them. They flutter near your face until one hand finds the other and then the flutter near your face together. Sometimes fingers from one or the both of them wind up in your mouth, sometimes your hair. You spend increasing amounts of time this way and I know that one day soon, in an instant, you’ll have figured those things out for good.

The problem with those hands? They want to be where the action is. This is really only an issue when it comes to the bottle. Those hands bump, push and grab for the bottle – which only results in keeping you from your food. That, dear one, is not a good thing. You are so in tune with your hunger that when you smell food or see someone eating, you stare, drool and lick your lips. I’ve seen you become entranced with the sight of someone’s chewing face.

In another three months you’ll be a completely different baby but I think you’re just starting on that path. You’re slowly growing out of your 0-3 month clothes, turning away from the Soothie, trying to roll over. You’re on the road to independence, talking and giggling the whole way.

In fact, a nurse told me recently that your “language skills” were really rare. Apparently, few babies try to hold complete conversations with anyone and anything the way you do. You mimic tone, inflection, facial expressions. At 3 months old, I swear you’ve blessed me out. Usually this happens when you want to sit up – as you always do, forget that lying your back thing – or when I turn your channel.

Yes, little Bella, you have a channel. You love to lie on your playmat and watch the Baby Channel. For the most part, it’s colorful pictures set to playful, classical music and you love it. When I need to finish up an article or focus on a really boring case study, I turn on your trusty channel and let you get wrapped up in pictures and sound. We plan to buy you a Bumbo chair this weekend so that you can better sit up, but don’t think I’ll be taking the TV away from you. It’s a wonderful solace for us both.

Despite your fascination with the TV, you like books too. You like to stare and smile at each page. Your favorite is a LeapFrog electronic book that sings nursery rhymes and has a flashing light on the spine. You focus intently on each page, on the light and on me until you “get it” and then you start talking and laughing at the pages, as if there’s some secret you’re in on. Yesterday you fell asleep while studying one of the pages and I had a flash of a teenage you – soft and vulnerable with a book tucked by your side.

I can hear you getting frustrated now. I’ll go to you and when my face floats in front of yours, you’ll break into a smile. You prefer human entertainment to all other forms and your brother, daddy and I are more than happy to give it to you. We smile and coo and kiss your belly. As a reward, you give us the deep cackle that we’ve begun to live for. Whoever gets it first inevitably looks around the room and says, “Yep, she loves me the best.” The rest of us sit in envy until its our turn to earn your shining light.

Love, Mama

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Daphne without Daisy

I'm beginning to see a little winsomeness in Sweet Daphne. I think she's bored, lonely, and all around missing that crazy bigger-by-the-day Boxer/Pitt known as Daisy. We've been lavishing attention on Daphne but I still catch her pacing the house with a toy in her mouth, looking for someone - anyone - to try to steal it from her. She sits on the deck, half enjoying the warm calm half waiting for a bundle of energy to come trample her.

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Bills bills bills

This not working/working part-time thing isn't really working for us. I'm going to force CCCC to tell me officially whether or not they'll have a class for me to teach in the fall and if they can't do that, I'll have to kick off Job Search 2007. I just don't have the time or money to work my butt off freelancing - especially with Bella demanding constant attention.

If I have a class in the fall, along with at least 3 good projects a month, then we'll be okay and I can put off full time work for a bit longer. I don't mind putting Bella in someone else's care but I definitely don't want to part with that kind of money just yet. I may invest in a "Mother's Helper" to free up a few hours each day to devote to working - or track down more projects for working.

This weekend we spent a lot of time at the pool. Brook, Bobby and their kids come over last night and we swam, ate pizza, watched movies and just let the kids run wild. Javi is the funniest kid - he begs and begs for other children to play with, but when he gets his wish he gets mad because they play with his things, eat his food, disagree with his movie choice, and other pointless madness.

Baby Nicholas is such a chunk! I thought Bella was a chunky baby, but that Nicholas has her beat. He's 5 weeks younger than Bella and already weighs more than she does. He has huge blue eyes and just stares at you unblinkingly with this "And what do YOU want?" look. It's super cute. When he's not staring at you, he's asleep.

Bella chilled at the pool in her little ruffly bikini looking like a rock star. She smiled at everyone who glanced her way and eventually wound up having a long, convoluted and very funny conversation with no one in particular. It's so cute to watch her giggle and laugh, esp because it inevitably leads to hiccups - and then she looks at us like "what just happened?!"

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