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  • week52_001

    Annabelle, you’ve turned the big 0-1! Yes, I know time flies but I feel as though it’s taken a long time to get to this momentous milestone. Every time I look at you, you’ve somehow changed. You’ve gotten another bruise, you’ve gotten more hair, your eyes have changed colors, you’ve gotten taller, your belly has gotten bigger, your voice have gotten more demanding, you’ve started running. It’s been an awesome year!


    We celebrated Annabelle’s big day at home with family and friends! We’re so thankful to have so many people surrounding us that love Annabelle as much as we do (maybe a little bit less because we sure do love her a lot)! The birthday bash was as success! She loved playing with all of the other little kids at the party and devoured her chocolate cupcake.

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    Here are some other some fun updates! Annabelle’s saying a few words. She says mama, dada, and uh-oh. She says mama the most because she’s a bit confused on what it actually means. She says mama when she’s thirsty and wants some milk. This made a lot of sense when I was still breastfeeding but now that she’s been weaned, it means she wants her bottle or sippy cup.

    Annabelle’s drinking whole milk now and drinks exclusively from a cup at school. At home during meals we have her drink from a cup (which we have to assist with) or sippy cup and at night she’s taking a bottle. I’m amazed at how all of a sudden kids know how to use a sippy cup or straw. We’d given her drinks from a straw and sippy cup on occasion for the past few months but she just wasn’t getting it. Then right as her birthday was coming around and we were starting her on whole milk I tried it again and she was all over it!


    Annabelle’s a good little eater but we can tell she’s become more selective (picky). It’s never consistent though, some days she likes carrots, others it’s peas, sometimes she’s our little meat-eater and other times she digs for the pasta noodles!



  • Annabelle’s Birth Story

    September 29, 2014


    Our little Miss Annabelle celebrated her first birthday a few weeks ago and with its arrival I began thinking about her birth. What’s kind of fun is that she was born right before fall classes started last year and so this year as I was preparing to start the semester I had some wonderful memories to help me get through those first few days. I’ve been wanting to write down the details of her birth just so we’ll be able to remember something years from now and thought this was the perfect time.

    Annabelle’s birth story actually starts about three days before she was born. What can I say, I love long stories. I went in for my 39 week checkup on a Tuesday and was about 3 cm dilated. Not a big deal considering I’d been dilated for a couple of weeks. While lying in bed that evening I felt something wet. I’ll skip over the details but needless to say, I thought my water had broken. No contractions or pain though. I was all giddy thinking that we might be having a baby and couldn’t sleep at all.
    I called my doctor the next morning and they had me come in, although they were pretty sure I just peeped my pants (and that’s exactly what had happened). Yes, this is normal. During pregnancy you have poor bladder control and it finally got to me!


    Wednesday afternoon went as usual and I actually gave a short presentation that evening at work. As we went to bed that night I started to feel different. So descriptive, I know! I’m not sure what it was but I thought I was starting to have contractions. I actually cleaned the house thinking that if I did go into labor I wanted the house to be clean when we got home from the hospital (yes, I’m a bit crazy). And of course, didn’t sleep at all that night either! Now that I’ve actually had “real” contractions, they weren’t. It might have been some type of Braxton-Hicks (preterm) contractions.

    Thursday Dusty went to work and my plan was to hang out. I continued to have very small contractions and spent the day timing my contractions using an awesome app I downloaded on my phone. When Dusty came home that evening I told him I was pretty sure something was happening. We waited (and waited) and finally called the hospital to let them know what was going on. Although painful, the contractions were very manageable (and I felt like a rockstar that I could handle them, but little did I know these were nothing compared to what was going to come). They said we needed to wait and try to get some sleep, that the contractions weren’t close enough together. I tried to sleep with little success (I was going on night three with little to no sleep). Finally a little after midnight we headed out with our bags all packed.

    Once we got to the hospital and got checked-in, one of the nurses checked me out and I was about 3-4 cm dilated. The nurses were very happy to see I was dilated this much but knowing that I’d been dilated almost this much for days, I didn’t think it was such a big success.


    Throughout my pregnancy, the philosophy I always believed in (which I read about and grasped instantly on the Babywearing International blog) on a birthing plan was to try to have a natural birth but if I had an epidural or had to have a C-section, that was just fine. So we started out the evening drug-free. We walked around the hospital hallways and tried to rest a bit in between. Then the contractions really started. Dusty and I were walking around the hallways and a contraction would come on and absolutely overtake me. Dusty was a trooper! He tried to help me breath through it and would even try to make a joke or two but I was having none of it. Poor guy had to deal with me giving him dirty looks for breathing on me, for even talking to me while I was going through a contraction, and jokes, those didn’t last long.

    We went back to the room after a while to rest and lay down. After realizing I still was only dilated a few more centimeters, that I was completely exhausted because I was going on three nights with very little sleep and knowing that it was probably going to take many more hours to have this baby, I decided to have the epidural.

    The epidural happened and all of a sudden having a baby was fun! It was like night and day. Dusty’s jokes were all of a sudden funny. We both were able to take a much needed nap for a few hours. And I even invited our families to come to the hospital to see use before Annabelle was born.


    Sometime in the late morning, part of the epidural started to wear off just a bit and I could feel the contraction on half of my body. It was a really interesting feeling, to first, have gut retching contractions before the epidural, then to get it and to be able to sleep through them, and then for it to wear off a bit and to know what was going on again.

    At some point late Friday morning the nurse checked me and my water had broken. Then I was dilated to 9 or 10 and they were calling my doctor. I got all prepped for pushing, my doctor came and we started the process of actually having a baby. Once I started pushing I realized how glad I was that I had gotten the epidural and got some sleep before getting to the really hard part! I wish I could say I pushed three times and adorably cute Annabelle popped out but it was quite a few pushes later that it finally happened.

    Annabelle joined us Friday, August 23 at 1:29pm. She weighed 7 lbs 9 oz and was 21″ long. I feel so lucky to say everything went smoothly and there were no complications.

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  • Week 51

    September 27, 2014

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    We’re getting so close! Annabelle’s nearly to her first birthday! One week to go! This was my last week of summer classes before a week of prep and then fall classes begin. Of course, Annabelle starts getting sick. Towards the end of the week she was congested and she was starting to sound similar to how she sounded when she had bronchiolitis. My summer classes are actually mostly online and we only meet on Fridays face-to-face.  Needless to say Annabelle hit her limit on Friday and she needed to go to the doctor (why couldn’t she have gotten sick just a day earlier).  It was one of the saddest moments for me, not being able to take Annabelle to the doctor and having to be at work. Grandma Jane took her and everything went smoothly. She had another ear infection but no bronchiolitis.


    I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but Annabelle’s no longer eating baby food. When we first returned to daycare, after our trip, I was sending a combination of pureed food as well as some other easy to eat things but it looks like Annabelle has no interest in letting someone else feed her. We were actually feeding her very little pureed food by the end of our Paris trip so it makes sense she didn’t want to start it up again when we returned. You can see below she’s eating toast, blueberries, and scrambled eggs for breakfast. And then pasta and chicken with some apples and grapes for dinner (she does eat plenty of vegetables, I promise).

    breakfast dinner

  • Week 50

    September 26, 2014


    One of our big adventures these last couple of weeks before Annabelle turned the big 0-1 was attending Rowan’s 1st birthday. A friend of mine had her son two weeks before I had Annabelle and we helped celebrate the little guy’s birthday. Annabelle had a great time playing in the yard with all the other kids! She’s a mover and shaker though and wanted nothing to do with the kids her own age. She’s way more interested in those older kids (you know, the ones that are three)! She had her first cupcake (it was vegan so I was feeling pretty good about it) and loved it! Makes me super excited for her birthday party in a couple of weeks when everyone will be singing happy birthday to her and she’ll be tearing into her own birthday cake. You have to love being young and being able to take your shirt off when you’re playing in the backyard!

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    Annabelle loves sitting on people’s laps! It’s so cute to watch her back her little tushy up to someone and then just plop her little rear-end down. Makes my heart melt to see her snuggle up to someone like that. While attending Rowan’s birthday party she decided the best place to be sitting was on Rowan’s mom’s lap! Gotta be where all the fun is!

    Lots of zoo trips! We’re less than a 5-minute drive and have been three times in the past two weeks. Here’s a picture of some friends and us at the zoo. Hubbies also came but they declined to be in the picture.


    Annabelle’s only taking one nap at school. I don’t know how they do it (she’s still taking two naps on the weekends) but all of her friends her age only take one nap and so does she. The first couple of days it was a little rough, she was going to bed even earlier than her early 7 o’clock bedtime but now she’s adjusted and does just fine.

    Weekly pictures are getting even more difficult to capture. Most of the time we have to give her something to hold onto, otherwise she pops right back over and is standing before we’re able to get even one good shot.  This week we gave her some keys. I thought I’d see if we could take them for just a minute and get a few shots without the keys and this is what happened. And here are the captions: 1) You took my keys, 2) Give me my KEYS, 3) I’ve got my keys, and 4) I’m happy again!

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    Life is most definitely changing! Dining out with Annabelle are few and far between these days. This week we went out to dinner with some good friends of ours who have a two month old of their own. I was a bit jealous that their little guy slept the entire time we were out, while Annabelle on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with her food and hated that she was seated so that she wasn’t facing out to the rest of the restaurant.

  • Week 49

    September 25, 2014

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  • Week 48

    September 24, 2014


    Annabelle’s pretty much mastered clapping and getting really good at waving. She’s still a little finicky on when she waves though. Often times it happens after someone’s left. We’ll keep on practicing though and when she does get it right, it’s awesome!


    Annabelle and I went to visit some friends of mine from college (and their spouses and children) while Dusty travelled to Milwaukee for business. Here are a few pictures of all the kids hanging out!

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    This weekend we also made our first trip to the zoo! I can’t tell you how excited I’ve been to take Annabelle! Even though I knew Annabelle was a bit young I asked that my mom get us a family pass for Christmas. I’m sad that we’re just finally using it for the first time and it’s already July but we have plenty of sunshine left before it gets cold and snowy! I was so surprised by how much fun it was to take Annabelle! She pointed at all of the animals and just about everything else as well. She’s most definitely becoming aware of her surroundings. She loved the aquarium but was a bit fearful of the monkeys and gorillas.

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  • Week 47

    September 23, 2014

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  • Week 46

    September 22, 2014

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    My hope of catching up on Annabelle’s weekly updates before her first birthday have come and gone but I haven’t given up. I’ve taken the pictures and now it’s time to write the captions!

    Now that we’ve been back from Paris for a couple weeks things are getting back to normal. We’re settling into our routines. I started back to work, teaching two summer classes and Annabelle went back to daycare. It was so great for her to see her friends and for me to get the house back in order! I’m horrible at having Annabelle at home and getting things done! The only that’s helping me is that on the weekends she’s taking two 2-hour naps! It’s amazing!

    Weekly Baby Picture / Week 46

    Being back at daycare has been a bit of an adjust to our little bean. She’s most definitely tired when she comes home. Playing is hard work. Some nights we barely have enough time to pick her up and get her dinner before she’s ready for a bottle and night-night time.

    In other highlights, she’s started clapping. The simplest things can be so much fun to watch.

    Chomp, chomp! Two more bottom teeth are coming in. She officially has eight teeth in that little mouth of hers.

    Of course, a week back at school and Annabelle’s started tugging at her ear and has a temperature that just doesn’t want to go away. Yep, she had an ear infection! Darn those kids and their germ spreading (and catching) abilities.

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  • Week 45

    July 31, 2014

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    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.

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    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.

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    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!

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    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!

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    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).

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    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

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    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.


    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!

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    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!


    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!


    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