• Happy 4th of July

    August 1, 2014

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    I didn’t mention it in my last post but we also celebrated good old Independence Day! We haven’t really celebrated the 4th of July for years. This year we were lucky enough to be invited to our friends’ Michi and Eric’s house. They have two little boys of their own, Wesley and Rowan. Rowan and Annabelle are just a couple weeks apart in age and I think will be the best of friends. A few other girls from Book Club, Claire and Allison and significant others, also joined in on the fun! It was a beautiful afternoon and evening of friends, sparklers, and good conversation! I wish this could happen every weekend!

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  • Week 45

    July 31, 2014

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 45

    It’s our first full week back and things are so much fun right now! Annabelle doesn’t start back to daycare until next week so Annabelle and I’ve had some really great days at home together. She’s getting much better at playing by herself and isn’t nearly as attached to us as she was last week.  She’s taking great naps! Two naps everyday, and for long stretches of 2-hours most of the time.

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 45

    As you can see from some of Annabelle’s photos, it’s becoming more difficult to take weekly pictures of Annabelle. She’s not too keen on lying down and smiling for the camera or for wearing the pretty bows that look so adorable with her outfits! We seem to take enough to find at least one good one but there are always the others where she’s angry at us for laying her down for the tenth time even though she just wants to get up and run away or the ones where she’s taking off those pretty bows.

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 45

    Annabelle has always loved spending time in the kitchen (probably because we spend a lot of time there) but she’s now discovered Tupperware.  In fact, we keep them in a container sitting out so she can get at them whenever she wants. Speaking of kitchens, we’ve been lucky that up until now Annabelle didn’t realize that she could actually open up the cabinets. Our cabinets don’t have knobs so there was nothing to pull on! This week Annabelle saw Dusty open up a cabinet and that’s all it took. We’ve now started baby proofing the kitchen cabinets!

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 45

    Annabelle swam for the first time this week. And loved it of course! She went twice! It’s a bit scary watching her brazenly walk across the pool like its no big deal but it’s fun to watch her splash in the water. We’ll have to plan on swim lessons next summer!

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 45

    She’s started biting again! It’s only me though. And she only does it when she’s hungry or tired and wants to be nursed. She’ll bite my shirt and it’s her way of saying, “Hey mommy, I’m ready for some milk and then to sleep.” I haven’t talked much about nursing in quite a long time. I have many conversations about nursing with my mommy friends though. I think it might be one of the top two things that I worried about the most as a new parent (sleep being the other).

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 45

    Right now I only nurse Annabelle in the mornings and before bed. She takes two or three bottles during the day. I haven’t been producing enough milk since Annabelle was about six months old so we’ve been supplementing milk I’ve frozen and then while we were in France Annabelle started taking formula during the day. Now that we’re back we’re using up the rest of the milk stored in the freezer and then she’ll go back to formula for the last month until we start her on whole milk. I’m starting to feel the pangs of sorrow for when she stops nursing. Sometimes it’s the only time of day that she’ll snuggle with me and I know I’ll miss it tremendously.

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 45

  • Week 44

    July 30, 2014

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 44

    I’m committing these next few days to catching up on Annabelle’s weekly updates (and ours too). I’m over a month behind! This week we ended our stay in Paris by celebrating our anniversary! We’ve been married for 7 years! Dusty made reservations at a super fancy restaurant for lunch and we got a babysitter all afternoon. We went to lunch and then walked to the Eiffel Tower for a relaxing quick nap on the lawn.

    I haven’t mentioned a lot about our babysitter but here’s a picture of Solêne and Annabelle! We were very lucky to find her and hope she’s around next summer! Solêne was so good with Annabelle. When she’d walk in the door Annabelle would light up and walk right over to her.

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    Since we’ve returned from Paris we’ve had a lot of people ask how Annabelle travelled. Well little lady, you did great! We had no problems on the way to Paris because she was pretty darn sick, had a really hard time breathing and because of this, slept the entire way. And then on our way home, we got lucky and scored a row that had an empty seat so Dusty sat by the aisle, I sat by the window and Annabelle sat in the middle seat and was able to roam on the floor in between our feet. In the end, our flight from Paris to Newark went better than expected and we got Annabelle to take two decent naps. I think the flight would have been painful if we would have had someone sitting next to us because she wouldn’t have had any space to herself.

    We had a long layover in Newark so that we’d have plenty of time to go through customs and get checked back into the airport (if you haven’t flown internationally, they essentially make you pick up your luggage and re-enter the airport and check-in again). Long story short, our flight was delayed several times and then cancelled after a long evening in the airport. Annabelle did awesome! We had our a little stroller so I was able to cover it with a blanket, stroll her around the airport and then get her to go to sleep. We were exhausted but I’m happy to say that there was no meltdown from Annabelle or me! We ended up taking a taxi into NYC and getting a hotel there so we could spend the next day sightseeing until we could catch a plan home in the evening. So, Annabelle had her first visit to NYC this week as well!

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 44

    Once we finally got home Annabelle had pretty much adjusted to the time difference and started to sleep through the night. If there was one reason for coming home, it was to have our little lady back to her own room! Now that we’re back Annabelle’s taking one long nap each day (so many people to see that we haven’t been able to take a second nap) and sleeping at least 10-hours straight. No more waking up at 5am and not wanting to go back to bed! Or not wanting to take naps!

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    Now that we’re home I’ve noticed Annabelle is a bit attached to Dusty and I. Not surprisingly, our place in Paris was small enough that she could see us at all times and she had grown used to it. Now that we’re home and have more space, she doesn’t like it when she’s on one side of the couch and I’m on the other and she can’t see me. She’s most definitely aware of her surroundings. I can tell she loves having the extra space to walk around though. It’s so crazy to think that 6-weeks ago when we left for Paris she wasn’t walking yet and now she’s zooming around the apartment. And yes, we’ve bought baby gates!

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    We had a busy first weekend home. Everyone wanted to see Annabelle so we spent a lot of time with all of Annabelle’s grandparents. If you can believe it, I think Annabelle saw all of her grandpas and grandmas in one weekend. Here’s just one picture of Grandpa and Grandma Howe who came to visit from Oklahoma, Annabelle and two of her cousins! And one last update, Annabelle has started waving just a bit. Not all the time but if we wave to her, she’ll wave back!

    We had a great time in Paris and can’t wait to go back but it is good to be home!

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 44

  • Our last two weeks in Paris were filled with a lot of excitement. One memory that I surely won’t forget doesn’t actually have a picture to go along with the story (and thank goodness it doesn’t). After being in Paris for over five weeks, our big adventure three days before leaving was locking ourselves out of our apartment.  It’s occurrences like this that remind me how great my husband is!

    We woke up on Sunday trying to decide what our plans were for the day.  First stop, the open market because the market is only open until noon and nothing else is open on Sundays. Dusty had mentioned he’d like to work all day because we were celebrating our anniversary the next day by going to a fancy lunch and he’d need to take part of the afternoon off. Annabelle and I had plans of going to the park!

    We walked out the door, shut it and then promptly realized we had no keys. We spent the whole day traveling around Paris getting a spare key from the landlord but only to get home to realize it wasn’t the right key and that there was no spare key. Then having to call a locksmith.

    Seems simple enough but we spent most of the day locked out of our place and there being several moments we weren’t sure if we were even going to get back into our place until Monday. This led to scouring the city for the one grocery store that did stay open on Sundays to get diapers and food for Annabelle just in case. Lessons learned: 1) Don’t forget keys, 2) take provisions for Annabelle even if you’re just going outside really quickly, 3) marry a man that knows how to solve problems!

    And here are just a few of the other things we did our last two weeks in Paris.

    reimsChampagne tasting in Reims.

    chocolateSome of the best chocolate chaud (hot chocolate) and fancy chocolate in Paris!

    week42_004Annabelle at the Arc de Triomphe

    week42_005Inside the Louvre

    week42_006Outside the Louvre

    week43_004Luxembourg Gardens

    week43_005Packing

    septimeLunch at Septime (lobster & egg yolk raviolo, peas, sage, foie gras, almonds)

    dustyDinner Date!

    week43_006Dots & Stripes!

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  • Week 43

    July 20, 2014

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 43

    This is our last full week in Paris so we tried to spend as much time out in the city as possible. The weather was beautiful so Annabelle and I went to the park a lot and went for a couple of long walks!

    Annabelle had a bit of a rough week sleeping. She didn’t want to nap at all and when she did it was only for short spurts. And she’s waking up at 5am.  We’re taking turns again, getting up with her for a couple of hours. And then the other getting up while the first takes a nap.  This trip has really helped me appreciate that Annabelle has her own bedroom at home and that it’s very dark! I just hope she transition back to Nebraska time alright. I’m a little afraid of what might happen with the 7-hour time difference.

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 43

    And then of course, the day after the doctor leaves (our friend Allison) Annabelle falls and cuts her tongue. She cut it just enough that it looked almost like snake’s tongue. It wasn’t bad enough to go to the hospital but for the first few days I was a little worried it wouldn’t heal correctly and she’d have a little slithery tongue. But of course, it healed just fine and you would never have known she was sticking part of her slithery tongue between her teeth!

    It’s been 4 weeks since Annabelle started walking and she really is becoming quite good.  Here’s a video to show you how fast she’s getting.  She’s still a bit wobbly but she’s got the basics for sure!

    It’s either time to go home or time to go shopping for new clothes! I brought mostly size 6-9 month clothes and now that she’s almost 10 months, they’re a bit tight. It’s fun to see how much she’s grown since we’ve been here. I feel like we’ll leave next week and she’ll be a new person!

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 43

  • Week 42

    July 17, 2014

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 42

    There’s so much to catch up on and so little time! Even though we’re back in the States I still have weekly updates from our time in Paris. I mentioned it last week, but Allison stayed with us this week and Annabelle, Allison, Dusty and I did a lot of walking/strolling! We went to a couple different parks, toured the Louvre, and pretty much walked across Paris!

    With all the walking this week I’m happy to say that Annabelle has no problems sleeping in her stroller. In fact, Dusty and I can predict (with some degree of accuracy) when she’ll go down for her nap and we’ll plan our meals out and drinks at a cafe around her naps. She goes to sleep and we find a spot outside at the closest cafe. I know this won’t always be the case, so we’re taking full advantage of the time we have when we can take her with us!

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 42

    There are so many adorable things (or at least things I find adorable) that Annabelle does that I want to remember. One of them is that Annabelle does this funny thing we like to call “poop shakes”. When she gets done pooping, she’ll give a little shimmy shake and it’s the cutest thing. She’s no longer doing it just when she poops though. She does it when she gets up in the morning or from a nap, after she gets done eating, and after she gets out of the bath.  If you’re wondering what it looks like just watch this video I found on Youtube. Her shimmy shake is adorable!

    We tried to celebrate Father’s day but it ended up being a complete mess. By Sunday Annabelle was fed up with our erratic schedule (having friends in town really messed up her schedule) and she was a complete wreck! Dusty and I were both exhausted and Annabelle was too. She cried most of the day and fought all of our attempts to get her to take naps.

    My only other Annabelle update is that she tried salmon! She ate it but I can tell it’s not her favorite! And do you see that bruise on her eye and chin! She loves to try and climb on everything!

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 42

  • What We Did This Week

    June 22, 2014

    This is coming two-weeks late but I still wanted to try and share some of the fun things we did each week during our stay in Paris (I skipped last week and just added a few extra pictures to Annabelle’s weekly update). So, this week marked the beginning of two sets of Omaha friends visiting Paris and thus, the end to Annabelle’s and my low-key routine of bi-weekly walks to the market and grocery store and then visits to the park after lunch. In addition to those things, we spent the second half of the week sightseeing and running around Paris nonstop. Annabelle loves sitting up in her stroller (literally, leaning over and almost out of her stroller), watching everything and everyone, and when she gets tired, she does just fine napping in her stroller, making our adventures a lot more fun! We’ve gotten really good at knowing when it’s nap time and we plan for drinks or lunch at outside cafes at these times.

    week41_005Fun times at the park (even if she doesn’t look all that happy to have her picture taken).

    week41_008We stopped at a park and played while it rained for about two minutes and then got sunny again.

    week41_004We played at the park with Zach while his parents (friends of ours from Omaha) and Dusty were at this great little bar having something to eat and drink.

    week41_006Went to David Lebovitz’s, My Paris Kitchen, book signing. We love his blog and following it pretty religiously to find great places to go in Paris.

    week41_007Found a great cafe to have drinks at with our Omaha friends while Annabelle napped.

    week41_009And then we ended our week with take-out Chinese food at the Eiffel Tower with our friend Allison. It was a beautiful night! Annabelle did a bit of exploring and then after a few strolls around the park fell asleep.

  • Week 41

    June 21, 2014

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 41

    The weather has been really great while we’ve been in Paris, which means nice outings for Annabelle. The first half of the week was a bit rainy so spent some time in doors but the weekend was beautiful (even a bit warm for Paris at this time of year). We managed to go on lots of walks and check out some more parks.

    She’s becoming quite talkative! She jabbers on and on. She’s also getting louder! She’s realizing her voice can carry. No words yet but we’re working on mama and dada. She does give us “smooches” or at least we like to pretend. When you blow a kiss you make what I call a “smooching” sound. Try it. You make a sound, right? Well, she makes that sound to us. She’s really just imitating what we do to her when we kiss her, making that “smooching” sound but it’s so adorable. She looks at one of us, makes the sound and then gives the biggest grin.

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 41

    Annabelle has officially gotten her sixth tooth, so now she has four on top and two on bottom. This tooth didn’t seem to give her too much of a problem. We’re still working on not biting though! With these new teeth of hers, she likes to munch on everything, including us. I can’t blame the girl, she’s just trying to figure out how those little teeth of hers work but those mighty bites hurt.

    Funny thing in the past week or two is that Annabelle’s started “tasting” her food before she eats it. Before, she’d pretty much inhale anything I put into her mouth but now, if I put a spoonful of something in her mouth, she’ll spit it out into her hand, look at it, and then put it back in her mouth, slowly chewing. You can tell she’s trying to taste what she’s eating and deciding if she likes it or not and if she remembers eating it before. After a few tastes she’ll eat everything just fine but it’s fun to watch that little brain of hers as she deciphers what she’s eating.

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    And we officially have a walking machine on our hands! It’s crazy that just a little over two weeks ago she started to walking and now she’s strolling across the apartment like she’s been doing it for months. Did this child ever crawl? We’re seeing very little crawling and fewer stumbles. When we go to the park I have to chase her around because she loves walking over to our neighbors and try to steal whatever they have laying out (food, bags, etc.).

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 41

    One of the best things about being a parent, being able to dress your daughter in adorably cute French inspired outfits. I’ve been searching all over Paris (at all of those souvenir stands) and finally found a beret that (almost) fits Annabelle. I’m still trying to get her to wear it long enough that I can take a good picture of her but until then, here she is, my little Parisian!!!!

  • Week 40

    June 20, 2014

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 40

    It’s been way too long since I’ve written an Annabelle weekly update. We’ve been in Paris for over two weeks now and we’re getting into a pretty good routine but that doesn’t include much time for blogging.  We have been taking pictures but I just haven’t gotten the chance to sit down and write anything. So here I am, trying to catch up on the last 3 weeks.

    She’s walking even more and she’s getting much better at it.  She’s not going to be winning any races quite yet but she’s falling less and able to take more and more steps every day. I’m taking her to the park as much as possible and she’s getting a lot of practice at walking on the unsteady terrain of the grass. We’ve had lots of other people at the park stop and ask how old Annabelle is and that they’re so amazed at how she’s walking already.

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 40

    Annabelle’s sleeping like a 9-month old but it’s still an adjust for us, mainly because we want to sleep in since we’re not on a regular 9-5pm work schedule and Annabelle’s not into sleeping late. I mentioned on our last update that we let her cry it out and since then things have resolved themselves for the most part, which is true, but Dusty and I are still adjusting to having a child at home. Annabelle goes to bet at 7pm but has been getting up anywhere between 5 and 7am. She’ll wake up twice in the middle of the night but it’s usually at 2am and 4am.

    Sometimes if she wakes up at 5am we can get her back down for a bit longer but there have been quite a few days where Dusty and I are trading off, and getting up with her way too early. We have a system where one of us will get up with her for an hour or so while the other one sleeps and then trade off so that the person who got up with Annabelle can go back to sleep for a bit. And then we both take a nap when she takes her morning nap. It would be okay if we just went to bed earlier but even when we tell ourselves we need to go to bed, it’s still not happening.

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    We’ve been having a lot of fun at the park. It’s so great because Annabelle is always meeting a new friend or two while we’re there.  It’s awesome to see her play with others her age as they explore together. Since Annabelle is walking we have a few extra reminders for going to the park. One, always have her wear dark pants or jeans. Two, don’t forget snacks! It’s important to give her a snack to hold in each hand so she doesn’t go after the cigarette butts or trash laying around (the parks is pretty darn clean but our little lady can find a needle in a haystack). If she already has her hands full she’s less likely to go after something in the grass. And three, keep her as far away from the rocks/sand as possible because she likes to eat it. Oh, our adventures at the park.

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 40

    This week we found an awesome babysitter. She’s wonderful! I was a little nervous about finding someone; first, because we really haven’t had anyone, outside of our families, watch Annabelle and second, being in another country makes it even more terrifying.  But after doing some research, including asking friends who live in the city about finding someone, and reading as much as I could on Message (a group who’s goal is to provide support and a network for English-speaking parents living in Paris), we’ve found someone great and I’m excited to have a little time without our lady and go on some much needed dates with my husband!

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    Annabelle’s transitioning out of pureed food and into bite-sized bits. She really likes eating on her own, especially now that she’s up to five teeth (and the sixth one’s on it’s way–no more fangs). She’s eating steamed carrots, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes as well as eggs, pureed chicken, avocados, bananas peaches, nectarines, pears, and apricots. It’s awesome having an outdoor market right outside our door twice a week to get fresh fruits and veggies for Annabelle.  And as you can see from the picture, she loves having one foot on the “table” as she eats.

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 40

    Annabelle’s outfit is from Zara. Her hooded sweatshirt dress says “La vie set belle” and means “Life is beautiful”.  It’s a bit big for her but I had to get a picture of her in it while we were still in beautiful Paris!

  • What We Did This Week

    May 30, 2014

    In this week’s Annabelle weekly update I wrote quite a bit about what was going on with Annabelle and didn’t even get to what we’ve been up to this week. So, here’s what we did in Paris this week. Annabelle helped me around the apartment with laundry and recycling plastic bags.  And I already mentioned in our weekly Annabelle update last week that on Monday Annabelle and I went to Luxembourg gardens. It rained some this week but what’s nice about Paris rain is that it’ll rain for a bit, stop, get sunny and then later in the evening rain again. So, even with the rain Annabelle and I went for several walks, went to the park near our apartment one day and even went to the zoo on Sunday to meet up with a couple of mommies and their babes.

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    The zoo was a lot of fun and so close to where we’re staying. The Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes is a zoo in Paris that belongs to the botanical garden Jardin des Plantes (which is also awesome). It is the oldest civil zoological garden in the world. It no longer has any large animals like elephants, but a lot of small and medium sized mammals and a variety of birds and reptiles (including raccoons). The first picture below is Annabelle just as we were arriving to the gardens. She was finishing up her afternoon nap.

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    And then of course, we just hung out too! Dusty discovered that Annabelle loves riding on Daddy’s shoulders! And really, just loves anything that involves being near her Daddy!

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