The Dawleys

Sunday, October 30, 2011

18 Months

This past month I returned to work! After babysitting for 8 months, I decided that it was definitely time to move on to other things. It was creating a lot of stress for the whole family, things in our house were getting ruined, I didn't agree with a lot of the things the parents did, and it was a ton of work for hardly any money. Things had to change and it was the best decision I could have made for Ella and I. It is so nice to have our days to ourselves to do whatever we want. While I really don't like working outside of the home right now, it is so much better than the babysitting situation. I only work two evenings a week opposite of Dave so Ella stays out of daycare. I have really noticed the bond between them strengthen and it's good for me to get out of the house and do something of my own. I have a very hard time doing things for myself and separating myself from Ella so it's really good for me (and for her). Plus, in two days, I am making more money than I made in an entire week!
The job is extremely easy. I just answer phones for a local hospital. There is a lot of down time in between calls so I get lots of reading done and can surf the internet. I am actually typing this blog post at work!:) The ladies I work with are all really nice too so that helps things. So while I don't like being away from the family, it definitely is the best job to have right now. I am very lucky to have found it!
Ella and I enrolled in a Kindermusik class last month. It's at the Omaha Conservatory of Music and there are 8 other children ages 18 months to 3 years in the class. Ella is the youngest, but does so well. It is amazing to see how much she has changed in the few weeks we have been in the class. She went from being shy and wandering the room and not the greatest at following directions, to following directions better than the older kids, getting really excited about participating in the activities, and clapping for all of the other children. Her confidence seems to have really taken off. At home, we read the stories and listen to the music from class and she loves it. She loves to do the motions to songs and will randomly do them throughout the day so I can sing the songs for her. It's so neat to see how the class is sticking with her even when we're not there.
Ella had her 18 month checkup last week. She is right on track and despite not talking, she is not behind in her speech due to the fact that she uses baby signs with us (eat, drink, help, all done). Apparently baby signs count as words. In the past week or so she has added "bye bye" to the words she can say and has started repeating words for us. Me, puppy, Elmo, duck, and bird are a few of the words she has attempted.
Ella just started walking down the stairs the other day. She holds on to the slats of the railing as she goes down (and we of course anxiously hold our arms out to catch her if she slips).
We have had a lot of changes in our house this past month, but all seem to be allowing us to grow which I am very thankful for!

Friday, September 9, 2011

17 Months

Ella turned 17 months old yesterday! At 17 months, she is sweet, loving, funny, and smart!
She is still not really talking, but she knows so many words. A few weeks ago, I started writing down words that she knows and it was over 100. The only words she says are Mom, Dada, whoa, yay, and just yesterday she started repeating Ella (Eh-wah) and woof woof (woo woo). None of the words are consistently used at this point, but she is able to communicate with us through baby signs and various sounds.
A few weeks ago, we removed Ella's crib from her room. She has never been a crib baby. Between a pack-n-play by our bed for the first 6+ months of her life, co-sleeping, and partial nights in her crib where she ALWAYS woke up crying and extremely upset, she has always seemed to dislike her crib. I can't say I blame her. After thinking about the floor beds used at her old Montessori daycare, I decided to give it a try and move her mattress to the floor. It worked out great! She LOVES her bed now that she has the control of getting in and out of bed on her own. She no longer cries when she wakes up, but instead gets out of bed and starts playing with toys or goes to the door and kind of knocks to let us know she's up. I am amazed at how well she is doing with that freedom at such a young age.
Ella's favorite activities are running and exploring outside, going for walks, pushing her baby dolls in the stroller, buckling and unbuckling the stroller, and looking at books. She loves to dance, help pick things up, and do things that make her feel like she's helping me. For example, she likes to help clean up food from her tray and hand it to me when she's done eating, she likes to throw things away, she likes to carry the key to the mailbox (she also like to get my shoes out and get the key out and put it away when she knows it's mail time), and she even puts her daddy's clothes that he leaves on the bathroom floor in the mornings in the clothes hamper!
Her favorite foods are still fruits and veggies, but she also loves polenta casserole, hard-boiled eggs, Earth's Best crackers with soy cheese slices, raisins, peanut butter, beans, black olives, and avocadoes (she has no problem eating a whole one!).
Ella is such an incredibly sweet little girl. I know most of it is her personality, but I like to think it also has to do with our parenting. If we let Ella cry-it-out, yelled and spanked her and used other mainstream discipline, and didn't attachment parent (babywearing, cosleeping, feeding on demand, responding sensitively to all of her needs, and giving her lots of love and cuddles), I think we would have quite a different child by this point. I think both nature and nurture play a part in what a sweet and sensitive personality she has. Either way, I am so grateful to be Ella's mommy!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cloth Wipes

Yes, that's right. Cloth wipes. Didn't think I was crunchy enough with just the cloth diapers, I had to go and mess with the wipes too. After Ella had a diaper rash that wouldn't go away a few weeks ago, I decided to finally try cloth wipes. I had been wanting to try them for a long time, but was a little intimidated by them and Dave wasn't too keen on the idea (and let's be honest - still isn't!). Since it isn't recommended to use disposable wipes on a diaper rash, I figured I had a good excuse to make the jump!
I bought a pack of Thirsties wipes from a local cloth diaper store. Six wipes for $10.75. I also made 20 more wipes using terry cloth fabric and flannel.
I honestly didn't think I would like using them and I didn't think that 26 wipes would last very long. I was truly amazed though. One cloth wipe cleans so much better than a disposable wipe. And it's nice being able to toss the wipe in the diaper pail rather than separating them (or often forgetting and finding old wipes in the dryer).
One of the biggest things that intimidated me was making a wipe solution. I have a recipe that I love though and it's actually kind of fun creating the solution. Plus, I love knowing what is going on Ella's skin. Here are my wipe solution recipes:

Lavendar and Chamomile
2 cups filtered water
1 tsp Dr. Bronners Baby Mild Castile Soap
2 drops lavendar oil (antimicrobial and smells good)
1 drop chamomile oil

Sweet Orange
2 cups filtered water
1 tsp Dr. Bronners Baby Mild Castile Soap
2 drops sweet orange oil
10 drops grapefruit seed extract (antimicrobial)

I put about 10 wipes folded in half in an old wipes container and pour the solution on top. I do this every other day.
Saves money and good for Ella and the environment. Can't beat that.:)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

15 months

I couldn't believe how quickly Ella's first year went by and how much she changed in that short time. Little did I know, this second year would be full of even more rapid changes! It is crazy how much Ella has grown since her first birthday.
Every day I am in awe of this little girl. She amazes me with everything she knows. She amazes me with her kind heart and her funny personality. Ella still is not talking except for the occasional Mom, Dada, and No, but she is absorbing every word she can. All day, every day she is pointing to things and like a broken record, I repeat these words all day. She loves for me to ask her where things are so she can show me. She knows parts of her body, in(side) and out(side), open and close, light, diaper, different furniture in the house, foods, animals, etc. She is so close to talking though! Just the other day, I put a new onesie on the little boy I watch. Ella pointed to the duck on his onesie and said "duh." She is starting to put her Melissa and Doug puzzles together and claps for herself whenever she puts a piece in the correct place. She lets me know when she wants something to drink, is tired, wants to go for a walk, or wants to eat. She is also following simple commands. In the evening before bed, we ask her to get her Larabar (her bedtime snack) and she goes to the cabinet, opens the drawer, and brings the bar to us to open. When it's naptime or bedtime, I tell her that it's time to go night-night and she grabs her beloved stuffed toys and marches to her room.
Ella has started to become attached to things. She has two bunnies, a blue bear, and a doll that my mom made for sleeping (and sometimes they go on walks with us or out and about). At bedtime, if one of those toys is not in her arms, she whines and looks around until they are all accounted for in her arms. Her Abby and Elmo figurines are her favorite daytime buddies.
At fifteen months Ella is finally starting to become a picky eater. Things she adored before are things she will no longer touch. Her current favorite foods are Larabars, soy cheese slices with Earth's Best Crunchin' Crackers, blueberries, nectarines, strawberries, broccoli, sweet potatoes, beans, veggie dogs, fried Cream of Wheat, Stoneyfield Farms Apple Yogurt, and veggie sausage with eggs. Although there are days when these are hit and miss too, they are more often a hit than not.
At her 15-month checkup, Ella was 9th percentile for weight and 17th for height. She is teeny tiny! Her doctor is not worried since she has always been small and since she is meeting all milestones on time.
When Ella turned one, I was really nervous about the toddler stage, but I am loving it just as much as the infant stage. I love seeing her personality and being able to communicate with her.
I am so thankful for Ella and am so very blessed to be able to stay home with her.



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Nesting

Every time I return home from visiting my mom's house, I go into major nesting mode. I consider myself a clean and organized person, but coming home from a stay at her house kicks it into major overdrive. My mom's house is perfect and beautifully decorated. Visiting always makes me realize that there is more I can do to my house to make it better!
During my visit, I got to play with my mom's sewing machine, something I am very interested in getting for my birthday or Christmas (a hint to Dave if I haven't dropped enough already...:) ). This is the one I want! Anyways, I made a bunch of cloth wipes for Ella. It was a lot of fun, and now I'm wanting to create even more things. Like this and this and I'm finding inspiration for changing up our living room from this and this.
I think our house is decorated nice now, but I would love it to be more personal and meaningful and what better way than to make things myself (or at least attempt to)?!

Monday, June 20, 2011

What I'm Reading Now...

I am currently reading the book "Buddhism for Mothers" by Sarah Nepthali. You are probably thinking, "What?! When did you convert to Buddhism?!" Well I haven't. But I do draw inspiration from the mindfulness of Buddhism. To me, it's a philosophy, a peaceful way of thinking, rather than a religion. I think all people can benefit from mindfulness regardless of what religion they are.
I found this book from a natural parenting blog I stumbled across. I decided to check it out since I am always open to new ways of thinking and bettering myself and I am so glad I did. This book is for every mother no matter what religion, no matter how old your children. Everyone can take something positive away from this book. I encourage all of you to check it out.
This book addresses so many aspects of motherhood: the awesome joy, the daily tasks that can become mundane if we let them, and the negative feelings we all have at times such as guilt, frustration, boredom, and anger. She talks about compassion for yourself (something I have a difficult time with). She shows you how to "be" with your feelings no matter how good or bad you may perceive them to be and to welcome these feelings and use them as a learning experience. She shows you how to be present rather than yearning for happier past times or looking to the future for fleeting happiness. Each moment, whether changing a diaper, having a good laugh, or folding laundry is all equally important. She shows you how to bring mindfulness to your parenting, which in turn spills into all other aspects of your life.
I find this book to be a great companion to my philosophy of gentle discipline and helps make this type of discipline so much easier.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

It's the Simple Things

Today was a beautiful day! I love days like this. Warm and sunny with not a cloud in the sky. A day where you just want to be outside and soak up all of the sunshine and take in as much fresh air you can. A day where you notice the beauty in all of the simple things from the flowering trees to the emerald grass to the sound of the birds chirping. To add to this beautiful day, it's the weekend and Dave is home with us to enjoy it all! He has had to work so many weekends lately and now he is off every weekend until the middle of June. That makes Ella and I very happy and it made today even better.
Today Dave made us French toast for breakfast and even did the dishes! We hung out around the house until after Ella's nap and then went out to enjoy the day. We had a delicious lunch at Jason's Deli (Ella adores their bean salad and corn muffins). We then bought some plants at Home Depot and did some grocery shopping at Target. When we got home, Dave did some yardwork while Ella watched, pointing and laughing every time he passed by the door with the mower. After dinner, Ella helped me plant strawberries. It was such a simple day, but these are the days that mean the most. And there is nothing like a sweet little toddler to remind me of that.


Ella watching Daddy mow the lawn.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ella is One!!

It's hard to believe that my sweet little girl is ONE! We had a wonderful weekend celebrating with family. Ella is so blessed to have so many great people in her life. And Dave and I are blessed to be the parents to such a sweet and spirited little girl. Ella has changed so much in her first year. Dave and I have changed so much as well though. Who knew that this sweet little girl could change us in ways we never thought possible? This past year has been amazing and I look forward to this second year in Ella's life!



Ella's birthday party was butterfly-themed since she has always seemed to be drawn to all things butterfly. We had butterflies everywhere, from the blinds, to the ceiling fan, countertop, and even the cupcakes. She loved pointing them out and oohing over them. For food, we had a little Mexican buffet since Ella loves beans! It was also a great way to make sure that everyone had something to eat that they liked. The cake was something that I tested for many weeks. I wanted the perfect cake for her birthday (not to mention I had an excuse to bake and eat a lot of cupcakes). I wasn't completely happy with any of the recipes I tried, so I modified one and created my own. They turned out amazing if I do say so myself!:)



Vegan Orange Cream Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

Cake Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. Mix the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, mix together the canola oil, sugar, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Sift in the flour mixture and mix until no lumps remain. Fill cupcake liners and bake for 20-22 minutes until done. Transfer to cooling rack. Once cooled frost with buttercream frosting.

Vegan Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:
1/2 cup shortening (I prefer Earth Balance)
1/2 cup margarine (again I prefer Earth Balance)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup soy or almond milk

Beat together shortening and margarine until fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and milk and beat for 3 more minutes.

Natural Parenting Blog Party (April 15th-30th)

I decided to join a Natural Parenting blog party at the Peaceful Housewife. I think it will be a fun way to keep me blogging and also find some like-minded blogging mothers! I am a little late getting started, but better late than never.:) Here are some get-to-know-you questions:

1) How many children do you have, and how old are they?
One daughter that turned one on April 8!

2) Do you have a partner, or are you a single parent?
I have been married to my wonderful husband for 5.5 years, together for 9 years in May...!

3) What are your “hot button” parenting issues?
Spanking.

4) Have you made any parenting choices that you didn’t think you would make before you were a parent, i.e. cloth diapering a child when you had previously thought it was disgusting?
Cloth-diapering was something I never thought I would do. We started using cloth when Ella was 3 months old, and it was a great decision!

5) Is there one book or person in particular that’s heavily influenced your parenting choices?
My instincts are what influenced my parenting choices. I didn't realize that what I was doing was Attachment Parenting until Ella was about 2 months old. I was so happy to see that there were other parents like me and was thrilled to discover Dr. Sears as a wonderful resource.

6) If you had to describe each of your children using only one word, what word would you use?
Spirited :)

7) Is there one parenting decision that you regret more than others and wish you could change?
I try not to regret things because it has no benefit to myself or family. I try to do the best I can, and that's really all I can do.

8) Is there an area of your parenting you wish you were better at?
I wish I was more creative and fun! I try to take ideas from when I used to work with infants at a daycare, but sometimes I wonder if I'm not stimulating Ella enough.

9) Now for the fun questions – is there one particular food or type of food that you could eat every day?
Chocolate. I keep leftover chocolate chips in the freezer for baking, but I always end up sneaking handfuls every day and they never get used for baking...

10) Vanilla ice cream or chocolate?
I love both.

11) What’s your guilty pleasure?
All of the Real Housewives shows...and Bethenny Getting Married...and Pregnant in Heels. I'm a Bravo TV junkie.

12) If you could be part of any television show, which show would it be?
Glee would probably be fun.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Balance

One aspect of Attachment Parenting that I struggle with most is balance. Everything I read, tells me to remember to take time for myself because this style of parenting causes me to give so much and it's important to not get burnt out. But no matter how one parents, or whether one has children or not, we all struggle with balance. We all have good days and bad days, days where we're more patient and kind, days where we overreact and snap too quickly at our loved ones, days where we are pulled too much in one direction, and those wonderful days where everything seems just as it should be. We all need balance.
I am someone that places a lot of pressure on myself. I strive to be as present as possible with Ella at all times. I try to plan menus with the most optimal nutrition possible and stress more than I should when Ella picks over the most nutritious parts of her meals. I try to keep the house clean (using only the greenest cleaners) and clutter free (which is so hard with a one year-old and our 4 month-old weekday friend). My Type A personality causes me to stress out when things are not in order.
With these types of expectations of myself, it is hard to stay balanced. Lately it has been even harder than normal. Dave has worked the past three weekends (on top of his 5 days during the week). He has had to work late 2-3 nights a week as well. This leaves me to do dinner, dishes, bathtime, bedtime, and end-of-the-day cleanup all to myself (although he is wonderful and helps out wherever he can when he gets home). This after long days of giving as much positive and patient attention as possible to my sweet and spunky little girl and to our little weekday friend. The giving lasts all day with no break, and none of the giving is to myself.
On top of this I am stressing about getting the house in order this week for family coming to visit. And this magnifies my need for perfection.
Needless to say, I am feeling very off-balance lately. I never seem to have a moment to myself. Even my rare free time is spent doing things such as Googling better ways to deal with the ammonia smell in our cloth diapers, meal planning, or reading books on positive, gentle discipline and vegan family cooking.
So this week, in the midst of the stress that I will no doubt put on myself, I am going to make sure I devote some time in the day to myself. Time just for me. Not for Dave or Ella or our dogs. Just me. It's not going to be easy for me, but I know I have to do it. I am in desperate need of recharging!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's Twilight at the Dawley Household

Yes, our sweet little girl is biting! The first time Ella bit me, I was absolutely shocked. We have taken great care to parent Ella in a responsive and loving manner in all situations so I was shocked to feel those little teeth pierce my skin. If all she's known is love and responsiveness, I didn't understand how can she know to bite especially since she is not in daycare. Because let's be honest -had she still been in daycare, I would have totally blamed it on that.
I have thought a lot about Ella's biting lately. I mean, the bruises on my arms don't exactly let me forget about it! After reading the toddler chapter in the Dr. Sears Discipline Book (a book I highly recommend that deals with disciplining the attached child in a gentle way), I was able to put this all in perspective and realize that I am not failing as a mother. The book made me feel better by saying that a lot of the annoying behaviors at this age are just phases and children outgrow them without the parent really needing to worry.
The more Ella bites, the more I realize that they are like love bites! They happen when Ella crawls into my lap to hug me or give me a kiss, which is really just opening her mouth wide and slobbering on me. :) She likes to bury her face into my shoulder and bite as she's hugging me. So for now, I tell her in a firm voice, "Owie. No biting. That hurts Mommy!" and give her a sad face. Then I give her a toy she can bite. Here's hoping this little phase will pass quickly!
This current issue we have has caused me to think ahead to the coming years and read about Gentle Discipline. Caring for an infant was so easy for me. I trusted my instincts and ignored what most books, pediatricians, and other people had to say because I am the expert on my own daughter after all. As we move away from this easy infant stage though, my confidence is a little shaky. I want to keep that strong attachment we have achieved this past year, and I know that I want to parent Ella in a way that allows her to learn from her mistakes, validates her feelings, and never makes her feel fearful or intimidated. I think this will generally be easy if I continue to listen to my intuition, but let's face it. A lot of negative behaviors in children can bring about negative feelings in adults. Feelings of frustration or even anger can cause parents to react in ways that are less than ideal for a child such as spanking or yelling. Because those behaviors are based on instinct and reacting first, thinking later, I want to know how to avoid them. I have found some great resources on Gentle Discipline:

Dr. Sears Discipline Book
Gentle Christian Mothers
The Parent Vortex
The Natural Child Project

So whether it's biting at one, temper tantrums at four, or back-talking at thirteen, I want to always make sure that Ella is treated with compassion, respect, and understanding.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why I can't let my daughter cry-it-out...

*Disclaimer: I hope I do not offend anyone with my opinions. I know we all love our children and want to do what's best for them. This is just what works/doesn't work for our family.

Despite saying we would never cry-it-out (CIO), we have done so on two separate occasions when we felt we had exhausted all other options and we ourselves were exhausted. The average mainstream parent would probably laugh at our CIO attempts and say they don't count, but to us, it was pretty traumatizing. The first time only lasted less than 5 minutes. I was in the room and Ella was so upset that I was rubbing her back instead of picking her up that she puked. The second time Dave tried it because I couldn't put her through that again. His attempt lasted a little longer, but he was in the room with her and gave her breaks. She eventually ended up falling asleep exhausted from the fight. Dave and I hated it so much that we decided that no matter how desperate or exhausted, we would never try it again.
You might be thinking to yourself, "What is the big deal with CIO? Toughen up and just do it. She'll turn out just fine and she will sleep through the night." I've heard that a lot from my dear friends and family. It is hard for me to explain to people why I am anti-CIO so I decided to dedicate a blog post to this controversial topic.
Here are some reasons why I am against CIO:
1) People say that letting a baby CIO will teach them to self-soothe. I find it very hard to believe that a baby that cries himself to sleep at night has actually soothed himself to sleep. I believe that he's fallen asleep due to exhaustion and eventually due to the realization that no one will respond to his cries (learned helplessness).
2) There is scientific evidence that CIO causes physiological damage and might also cause psychological and emotional damage.
3) I can't in good conscience leave Ella to cry alone. What if she's hungry? What if she's cold? Or sick? Or teething? Or just scared or lonely? I would never ignore these things during the day so why should night time be any different?
4) When Ella cries out for us at night, I believe with all my heart that it is to communicate not manipulate. I would never ignore an adult trying to communicate with me and I will treat my daughter with the same respect.
5) So much research supports that being responsive to your child rather than pushing them to independence before they are ready promotes more independent and secure people. If we go with the flow now, Ella will show appropriate independence when she's ready. This goes for both daytime and nighttime independence.
6) It goes against everything that feels right to me and that is the most important reason. If it doesn't feel right, it must not be.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ella's Favorite Eats

Ella has been a great eater so far. I know that could change at any time, but for now I am enjoying her good eating habits. I am very picky about the foods I feed her. As you know, I am a health nut, and it seems to be magnified even more with Ella. I hope the healthy habits I'm starting now will stick with her through her childhood. Here are some of her current typical and favorite meals:

Breakfast:
*homemade or Earth's Best waffle topped with Earth Balance and Trader Joe's superfruit fruit spread and sliced banana on the side
*scrambled eggs (with a little nutritional yeast mixed in) with veggie sausage and potato pancakes (usually on Saturdays with Daddy)
*omelet with nutritional yeast mixed in and soy cheese and bell peppers and mushrooms(once a week)
*Baby Muesli
*Green Smoothie (banana, frozen mango, frozen peaches, spinach, flax seed, soy milk, a little bit of molasses for iron and calcium, and a little agave nectar for a healthy sweetness) with Apple Cinnamon Teddy Puffs

Lunch:
*Peas of Mind Eat Your Greens veggie puffett
*veggie dog and sweet potato sticks
*baked tofu or tempeh with mixed veggies
*Happy Baby veggie tots with veggies

Dinner:
*Polenta Casserole (beans in a sauce of tomato sauce and spices topped with quinoa polenta and nondairy cheese)
*Mac and "Cheese" (whole wheat pasta with a sauce of silken tofu, nutritional yeast, soy milk, nondairy cheese, dry mustard, a very small amount of salt, and pepper...and sometimes I sneak in some veggies...for Dave's benefit, not my veggie-loving little girl:) ) with veggies
*Rustic Pasta (whole wheat pasta, veggie crumbles, cabbage, carrots, onions, and celery in a sauce of a few tablespoons of marinara sauce and Bragg's Liquid Aminos)

Snacks:
Earth's Best Crunchin' Crackers
Earth's Best Sunny Days Cereal Bars
Kamut Puffs
Healthy Times Teddy Puffs
Ezekial bread toast spread with flax or olive oil
Brown rice cakes spread with hummus
Apple hemp muffins (sweetened with agave nectar)

Although Ella eats a great variety of food, we do have a lot of trouble getting Ella to eat fruit. She definitely did not inherit her mommy's sweet tooth! The only fruit she will eat is bananas, grapes, and blueberries - and the occasional bite of applesauce. She doesn't like juice either. So I am trying to find creative ways to get her to eat fruit! Green smoothies are a great way to do this because they are full of nutrients and I can add a variety of fruits. But most days her only fruit is a banana. This girl loves her bananas and will eat almost a whole one!
I look forward to feeding Ella even more foods as she gets older. It will be interesting to see as she gets older and can make her own choices if she sticks with her current vegetarian diet or ends up eating meat like her daddy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

11 Months

It's so hard to believe that in one month, we will be celebrating Ella's first birthday. This past year has flown by faster than I ever could have imagined. I am so excited for her to enter toddlerhood and to start talking and walking. But I am so sad that this baby phase is almost over. I feel an ache and longing in my heart. I wish I could hold on to these sweet infant moments for just a little bit longer.
Lately we've had a few warm days mixed into the cold wintry days. Spring is almost here. We have been lucky enough to open windows a few times. It is so nice to feel the warm breeze rushing into the house. It floods me with memories of Spring last year when Ella was a tiny newborn and the awe of motherhood was so fresh and new to me. I remember sitting with her in her room rocking her and looking out the open window at the beautiful tree in our front yard that was blooming with purple flowers. Savoring that sight, the feel of the warm breeze, and the sweet smell and warm softness of my tiny daughter, I wanted to be sure that I would remember these simple, but beautiful moments forever.
I spent a lot of Ella's first year holding her while she slept. Staring at her tiny features. Watching her peacefully inhale and exhale. Smelling her sweet scent. Cherishing each precious moment.
These days Ella is on the move and is busy exploring her world. She hardly has time for me to hold her anymore, let alone sleep which is something she wants nothing to do with! And help her do things? Forget about it. This girl wants to try everything on her own. These moments are so different from last year, but I cherish them all the same. I love watching her independence and curiosity emerge. I love her sweet and loving personality and how she likes making Dave and I laugh. I love that stubborn streak in her that is so much like her mother.:) I love the look of pride and happiness on her face as she learns and accomplishes new things. And I love that despite her newfound independence, she always has time to come hug me or sit in my lap for a few minutes before returning to exploring.
This last month of Ella's first year will be busy as I chase her around, plan for her party, and prepare for a much-needed visit from my family. This last month of Ella's first year will be a bittersweet one as I reflect in the past year and look forward to the next. I will continue to cherish each day that I have with this awesome little girl.