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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