Monday, December 31, 2007

Runner, I Am Not


So, this week at the gym, I decided to kick things up a notch and run on the treadmill.  About one minute into this, I began thinking it was a bad idea.  I hate running...who am I kidding?!  But, I forced myself to run for 10 minutes.  Ugh...it was torture.  I couldn't take my eyes off the timer on the machine, and kept thinking, "just 7 more minutes, you can do this!", then "I don't think I can go another minute!".  

The next visit at the gym, I decided to run again, this time for 11 minutes!  Now that I knew I could go for 10 minutes, I couldn't go any less than that.  So, I challenged myself to go one minute longer.  I did it...but grudgingly.  Did I mention I hate running?  

Next time, it will be for 12 minutes.  I can't wait.  Is it bad that the only way I get through this is by shouting to myself things like, "Do you want to look good for your 10 year college reunion?!  Keep going!"  "Do you want to lose that butt?! Keep going!"  I'm like my own little drill sargeant in my head.   Watch out, Lou Gossett Jr, there's a new sargeant in town.  

Thankful Thoughts on New Year's Eve

So, it's almost 2008, and I'm thinking about what 2007 was for me.  It was the year I became a Mama, learned how to multi-task (I only THOUGHT I was a multi-tasker before!), made a job change that was right for my family, and started doing some things *for me*, like going to the gym, working with a trainer, and watching what I eat (and losing 5 lbs in the process!!!).  I've got some goals for 2008, but first I wanted to make a list of things I was thankful for in 2007...

1)  The opportunity to finally be a Mom, and get to see our Babygirl everyday.
2)  That both of us found great job opportunities that keep us closer to home.
3)  That I finally made time to start exercising again...it feels good.
4)  That Emmy has such wonderful grandparents, who love her, and love & support us in many different ways.
5)  That my 90 year-old Gram is still here, and still a stinker.
6)  That the cats have adjusted SO well to Emmy's presence in their lives.  
7)  That we are all *finally* healthy after 5 weeks of being constantly sick.
8)  That we have truly fabulous friends, who just happen to live too damn far away (okay, so I'm NOT thankful for that last part)
9)  That we have a warm place to sleep, enough food to eat, and money to pay the bills.
10)  That I have a loving & supportive husband, who still seems to like me after being together 6 years.  

Friday, December 28, 2007

Holiday Happenings


We went to DC for Christmas to stay with Keith's sister & her family.  We were joined by the rest of the Stouders, and had a nice holiday together.  Emmy's first Christmas was fun, although at times she was overwhelmed.  She enjoyed the wrapping paper, playing with her cousin Abby, and pulled up onto her knees for the first time in order to get a better look at a new toy.  Once she did that, she was up on her knees for the rest of the week...something she though was hilarious.   I got some cute video of her bouncing and giggling hysterically.  
Today was my last day at work, and I'll start my new job on Monday.  It was sad to leave my friends today, but I'll stay in touch (and they'll read the blog to get their Emmy fix).  
We're staying local for New Year's...not doing much, except going to visit our friends, Fred & Lennie on New Year's Day.  Lennie is a fabulous cook, and loves to entertain.  Should be fun.  
Keith got me an iMac for Christmas (I should say, got "us" the iMac!).  I had wanted some digital scrapbooking software, but once he read the system requirements, he realized our old computer would need an upgrade to support it.  The old system was going on 5 years old, so it was time to change out.  We're learning how to use the Mac, and are liking it so far.  I feel like I have a ton to figure out, but will take it slowly and play around with it.  Any Mac users out there (besides the Garretts, who've been trying to convert us for years!)??

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Chocolate Chip Milestone



I finally did a little baking today, making chocolate chip cookies & brownies with peppermint chips on top (thanks for sharing your peppermint, Mom!). Emmy was sitting in her highchair, eating snacks and listening to Christmas music while I worked in the kitchen. I gave her a little piece of cookie, and she obviously liked it. So, I gave her a half cookie, and she DEVOURED it. Such a good chocoholic! This was her first cookie, and I think she's a fan.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Hello, Amoxicillin!


Well, it had to happen eventually. Em has had a nasty cold/cough all week, which kept getting worse, so I took her to the ped yesterday. She said Em's lungs were clear, but she had an ear infection. When she went 2 weeks ago for her 9 month checkup, the right ear looked slightly red, but nothing to do for it quite yet. Looks like it brewed for a while, and then this cold kicked it up a notch into a full-blown infection. So, Emmy's on the lovely pink Amoxicillin. Luckily, she loves it. She gets so excited when I pull out the bottle, she literally starts bouncing in her seat. We found out yesterday one of the little boys in daycare has RSV...so, we'll keep a close eye on Emmy's cough & breathing.

On the upside, when I picked Em up one day this week we were saying goodbyes with Jeffrey, and Emmy waved and said "bye-bye"! That's the first time she's said a word with an appropriate action/meaning. So exciting! Usually, everything is either mama or dada....not that I get tired of hearing "mamamamamamama"!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oh, Christmas Tree...



Will try to get more this weekend...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Holiday Buzz


This weekend, I put our tree up, and decorated the house for Christmas. We decided to do a 4 ft artificial tree this year so we could put it up on a table and have it out of reach of the crawling kiddo. She's not sure what to make of the sparkling delight in the front room, but she's interested! We went to church today, which unfortunately, put our schedule out of sync for the rest of the day. Church service takes place during Em's morning naptime, so she missed her nap. We thought she'd crash once we got home...no such luck. She tossed & turned & played & whined, until we gave up 2 hours later and got her up. We had a Christmas party to attend tonight, and really wanted her to nap before we went...nope, didn't happen! She was a social butterfly at the party...went from person to person, without a whimper. Whatever happened to the stranger anxiety she's been having lately?! Guess she decided to put that aside for the night. Keith and I actually hired a babysitter Saturday night so we could have our first date night in 10 months. It was nice to eat dinner in peace, without worrying how many crackers were being dumped on the floor, or whether our dinner partner was putting her mouth on something unsanitary! We went to a movie (Before the Devil Knows Your Dead...sort of a downer, but very well done) as well. Overall, it was a nice weekend, and we finally feel more in the holiday spirit!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Kid vs Cat

We took they boys to the vet for their annual checkup today, and were a little surprised by how much weight Riley had gained in the past year. I guess he's been emotionally eating since Emmy's arrival (Amos' weight didn't change). On Friday, I took Em in for her 9 month checkup, and she's doing wonderfully. She was so happy at the office, the pediatrician kept asking if she was always this even tempered. A funny thing though...Em's stats: wt 18 lb, 6 oz (50th percentile for each). Riley's stats: wt 18 lb, 6 oz...it will be so nice when I can say that my child actually weighs more than my cat!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Resurfacing...



Hello faithful readers...November has not been a good month for blogging, evidently! Pretty much every weekend has been full, and week nights hectic! The weekend before Thanksgiving, our good friends, Jen, Chad & Sophie, visited us from Ohio. They flew down on a new airline called Skybus. You should check this out...you can get a flight for $10 one-way, if you book early! We had a lovely time...Keith got an iPhone (with Chadman's "all-things-Mac" insight) and the men were content. The little girls visited the Duke Primate Center and got to see some lemurs, and had fun playing together. The big girls had a spa day, went chocolate shopping and gabbed until we were blue in the face. I wish we didn't live 9 hours away from each other!!!

The following week, K & I had massive headcolds...ugh. Emmy came down with a GI bug the night before T-day. I really didn't need to see projectile sweet potatoes all down my chest. She was sick until midnight, and then our T-day guests started arriving early the next morning. We had a good visit with Keith's bro, and his parents...and then K's sis and her family when they arrived Saturday morning. We got family photos taken Saturday afternoon and did the big meal (big feed, as my Great Uncle Rich liked to say) that night. Unfortunately, that evening several of us developed the nasty GI bug Emmy had early in the week. Before the weekend was over, 7 out of 9 of us were sick! (and by Tuesday, 9 of 9!!) I've literally not been that sick for many, many years. K & I were bed-bound all of Sunday, and much of Monday. It was so fortunate that his family was still in town when we fell ill, as we would have been incapable of taking care of Em. I suppose there was some fortune in the timing of all our illness, as it seemed to occur in phases...that way someone well could care for someone ill. Thanks to the Stouders & Campbells for helping us out! (And sorry we contaminated you!!)

In other news...I have accepted a new position at Duke, effective the 1st of the year. I'll be working in the Breast Cancer Prevention Clinic with a wonderful team. This will be a local position, with no travel and regular, predictable hours. Em's daycare is 10 minutes from work, and I really think it will be a good fit. I'm sad to leave my friends and coworkers from the past 5 years, but look forward to the challege of the new job!

Emmy updates: she's getting 3 teeth in at once...one snaggletooth on top so far. She's crawling like crazy and is getting a little too fast for my taste. She's trying to pull up as of this week. She says "nana" for banana, and "ca" for cat. (She does love her kitty cats!) Granted, these are not consistent words, but I've heard them several times now, so think I can say she's trying.

That's the updates...check out the Flickr site for updated pics!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Big Week!



We had my Mom visiting from Indiana this weekend/early this week, and she picked a great time to come down! Emmy started crawling on all fours over the weekend, started getting her first tooth on top, and signed "more" for the first (and only, so far!) time!! Whew! Mom was so excited to get to see all the action, and Em was pure entertainment. She's turning into a less and less a baby, and more of a little girl. She turned 9 months old today, and it just doesn't seem possible! Her personality is busting out all over, and it's a hoot. She's still having a lot of separation anxiety, so the mornings at daycare have been a little rough for the past couple weeks. We're shopping for baby gates, now that she's mobile, and need to do an extra layer of babyproofing the house this weekend.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!




from our pumpkin patch, to yours!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

See What We See



So, Emmy has been doing the soldier crawl across the room, and I've attached a clip of that.
Also, she's very into clapping and cheesy grins...see for yourself. She got a new Pooh bear from Fred & Lenny, and as is clearly evident, she loves it!

video

Friday, October 26, 2007

Finally!

Man, oh man, it's finally raining here. It started late yesterday afternoon, and has rained all day today. Last check of the rain gauge by Keith was about 4 inches! We've been in such a terrible drought all summer, so this was most definitely a much needed soaker. I think the rain will taper off by tomorrow morning, and hopefully the rain clouds won't stay away for so long again.

We had planned to go to Statesville on Saturday with some friends to attend Balloon Fest. They launch hot air balloons in the morning and afternoon, and it's supposed to be quite a sight to behold. It's a huge event, with an arts & crafts fair, tastings of NC wines, and live entertainment. Unfortunately, all the rain has made the fields a muddy mess, so we'll probably pass this year. Next year Emmy will enjoy it more anyway.

Emmy is participating in Kindermusik each Thursday at daycare. She's been clapping all week, so I think she's picking it up a little! I put the CD in the car today that the teacher sent home, and Emmy squealed all the way to daycare as we listened. I can't say this is going to be my favorite CD, so I think I'll have to look around for some decent Emmy tunes! (I don't think she's a fan of Morning Edition on NPR, but Mommy gets to choose the channel for now!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Beach Trip




I had a CME conference in Virginia Beach this weekend, and Emmy & Keith came along for some beach time. The hotel where the event was taking place was a beachfront Hilton. We had an ocean front room on the 10th floor with a balcony that looked over the boardwalk and the sea. It was so nice to smell the salty air and see the waves crashing below. We took Emmy's swimsuit because there was an indoor pool...unfortunately, it was drained for maintenance! There was also a rooftop pool, but when Keith tried to get in, decided the water was too cold for Em. He snapped some pics of her in her suit (I had nothing to do with the fact that it's on backwards!), and then let her play in the tub. As long as she could splash, she was happy. After my conference, we went down to the beach and let her discover the sand. I got some really good shots of her on the beach that I'll share. Be sure to check out the photo gallery for the trip pics. Emmy and I walked down to the water and got our toes wet. We had an excellent seafood dinner Saturday night, and took a long walk down the boardwalk. We got up the next morning and walked the other direction on the boardwalk and had a nice breakfast at an open air cafe with a beach view and breeze. The weather was wonderful and it was a very nice way to spend the morning.

Emmy is so *SO* close the crawling. She gets very frustrated because she hasn't quite figured out the mechanics of the arm/leg motion, and she rocks back & forth ferociously! Then she howls because that doesn't move her across the room.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Fall, Ya'll




We had a nice weekend...great fall weather with highs in the upper 60's/low 70's and lots of sunshine. This is really my favorite time of year! We had my Dad, his friend, and my brother visiting from Indiana this weekend. They drove down and brought a ton of frozen veggies from Dad's garden. We bought a small freezer chest to store all the goodies (unfortunately, the only place we have to put it is our bedroom...you might be a redneck...) We all went out for dinner Friday night to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. Everyone enjoyed their menu choices, and Emmy was totally happy as long as you kept feeding her. She is turning into a little oinker! She must be hitting a growth spurt, as she just can't seem to fill up! She ate mashed potatoes for the first time, and I'll attach a photo from that adventure. Good thing it was bath night. On Saturday, we visited a local farm to find a pumpkin. Emmy was less than thrilled with the whole thing, but I still managed to get a couple good pics. She was totally experiencing some stranger anxiety, and would screech everytime her Grandpa tried to hold her. Of course, the deep gravely voice and bushy goatee might have had something to do with that too. By the end of the weekend, she was trying to yank on his hair and smiling. We are entering into the separation anxiety stage as well...mama simply must NOT leave her line of sight, and Daddy is simply NOT an acceptable substitute! Dropping her off at daycare has become an ordeal, but it's not quite as bad if the other kids are already there as a distraction. She does love to play! I really think she'll be crawling within 2 weeks or so. She keeps getting up on all four's and rocking back & forth. She doesn't quite have the knees pulled up enough yet. She was doing the "soldier scoot" across the floor tonight...not quite the soldier crawl, but not rolling across the floor either. I was surprised to find her at my feet when she had just been 5-7 feet away!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Check It Out!


Thanks to my good friend, Chadman, I think I've finally found a photo gallery that will work well for everyone. Flickr seems to be a great tool, and it's easy to use. I've uploaded some new October photos of Em, so click on the Photo Gallery Link at the right and check them out. You should be able to save or print any of these photos (and even choose the size...after clicking the photo, look under additional info to choose photo size).

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

She Finally Said It!

We heard Emmy say "da-da" for the first time today! Keith was so excited....he said, "that's me!". Such a good baby girl!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Unbelievable Cupcakes!

I was checking out my favorite blogs tonight, and happened upon a link to this. This gal is seriously talented!

I have been pondering signing up for a cake decorating class at either AC Moore or Michael's. I've wanted to do the Wilton class for years, as I want to be a cool Mom who can make some memorable birthday cakes for our kidlets. I checked out the class schedules for October, and neither store has a class time that works for me. I'll check back in November I guess, and hope there's a time that will work.

We discovered a neat little chocolate shop tonight called Stam's. It's a new store, in a little shopping plaza near our house. We chatted with the high school girl working behind the counter, and found out the chocolates come from Amsterdam & Iowa....say, wah? She said it's a family-owned company from Holland, and one of the grandsons moved to Iowa and started an off-shoot of the company there. How did Chapel Hill get a store? The owner is from Holland, and lives here. He ate the chocolates growing up, and when he found out there were stores in Iowa, he convinced the company to allow him to open the first non-family-owned franchise...right here in Chapel Hill! Here is a link to the story, as reported in our local paper. By the way, the coconut truffle and butter truffle are delish! (I am planning to take my buddy, Jen, here when she visits in November!)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

6 month Portraits






Here are some of the 6 month portraits we had done recently (okay, so in August!). Emmy was at the tail end of a cold, and we made it through with only one snotball in any of the photos. Funny, the things you're thankful for once you have a kiddo! Anyway, we had a male photographer this time around, and he wasn't nearly as interested in the quality of the shots as our photographer at our first session. I didn't realize until the photos came back that almost all the backdrops were black! (Not a great choice for a dark-haired child) In the future, I will be requesting the initial photographer specifically, as she did a fantastic job. Ignore the funky photo angles, as I had to take a picture of a picture, and was trying to avoid a glare from the flash.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Yup, I'm a Slacker

Sheesh, it's been forever since I posted on the blog! Sorry faithful readers (all 5 or so of you!). I've been a busy little beaver these past couple weeks.

I signed up for the gym again a month or two ago, and didn't get my rear in there to workout until last week. Went to a strength-training class, abs class and a cardio aerobics class. Felt good, but I knew I needed to kick it up a notch, so I booked a free session with a trainer. This was mostly to orient myself to the new weight machines they have, and try to figure out some sort of strength routine. I enjoyed it so much, I signed up to meet with the trainer twice a week. I figure the only way I'll actually GO to the gym is if I have an appointment to workout with someone. I have to say, the first session (upper body weights and abs) totally kicked my butt, and I have barely been able move my arms for the past 2 days. Good God, what have I done?! I go back tomorrow afternoon, and hopefully we'll focus on the legs, because my arms are still quivering from Tuesday.

I was up until midnight last night, preparing for a stamp class that I do monthly in Henderson. I have about 5 gals who are faithful stampers and love to come to a regular class. When I got to work today, I talked with one of the girls, and she had no idea there was a class tonight...upon further checking around, it appears I only remembered to tell 2 of the gals when the class was! Mommy-brain is REALLY bad people...bad, bad, bad. So, I rescheduled the class to next Thursday so everyone can come. It's bad enough that I can't remember ANYTHING, but then to never remember that you forgot something makes it so much worse! It's like if I don't write it down, it's gone forever, never to return to my consciousness again. Unbelievable...and to think I was at one time so on top of it. Hhmrph!

I am doing Dream Dinners again on Saturday. We have now designated that Thursdays are Keith's night to cook. Lucky for me, it's not PB&J's every week because the ready-to-cook meals from DD are so simple to cook, even my kitchen-challenged hubby can do it! Yahoo! My cousin Sherrie was lucky enough to marry a chef...I was not so lucky in this regard!

I promised to post pics of Emmy's new 6 month portraits. Will load them onto the computer this weekend so you can see. She is going to do Kindermusik at daycare in Oct & Nov. The Kindermusik lady comes to the daycare once a week, and the families get little songbooks and an instrument to take home. We have the option to come join the class, but I an in Henderson on those days.....bummer! Emmy is learning about clapping and waving now, and she sits on the floor and rocks back and forth when we sing. Such a hoot. I was mimicking her rocking last night, and it produced these HUGE belly laughs from her...double hoot.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Who Knew Graham Crackers Were So Messy To Eat?!



Emmy has been a fountain of new adventures these past two weeks! She ate crackers for the first time (picked it up off her tray and immediately started munching, as if she'd been waiting for a graham cracker for ages!) and made her first attempts at a sippy cup this week as well. She's figured out she can get a drink, but gets mighty frustrated when the water doesn't come out. The art of tipping-thy-head-back hasn't been mastered yet. When Keith takes the cup to try to help her, she let's out a shriek of independence! He got a kick out of that. She is rolling all over the place now...nothing is out of reach. There have been a few times that we've gone to get her out of bed, and she's facing an entirely different direction than where we originally put her. She's such a wiggleworm...constantly squirming, rolling, and winding around to get where she thinks she needs to be. Em's becoming quite the chatterbox, and I'm trying so hard to get her to start using some hard consonant sounds...especially, "ma-ma-ma". I could have sworn I heard it on Friday morning, but she didn't repeat it (and was looking at the cat when she said it). Oh well...

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bedtime Rituals




We tend to have the same bedtime routine every night. Jammies & fresh diaper, bottle, read a book or two, lots of hugs & kisses and bed. Emmy loves reading her books, and especially enjoys the books with something fun to touch (current fave is "That's Not My Bear!", with all the fuzzy bear parts to rub...thanks Jen!) Tonight, Keith was doing the bottle & book, as I was putting a clean sheet on the crib. They were so cute, I decided to take a couple photos. The last photo is of Keith "paying tribute" to the King, with a pseudo-Elvis-sneer. He had been jiggling Emmy to get a burp out, and singing "All Shook Up!". Enjoy!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday....ahh, weekend!

It's been a long week here. We've all been nursing colds, and out of the three of us, Emmy seems to be doing the best. She's been blowing snot-bubbles all week, but still acts happy, eats well, and takes good naps. We only had one night time scream-fest, and that was the evening her cold started. I think she was ticked off that her little nose was stuffy! She's not run a fever or acted like her ears hurt, so I haven't taken her to the doctor. I had a cold all last week, and thought I was getting rid of it when Emmy caught hers. Then, mine came back with a vengeance! (and now Keith has it...much to my dismay!)

Anyway, we'd scheduled an appointment at JC Penney's to get Emmy's 6 month pictures taken. Since her cold is clearing up, and she wasn't a total snot-monster, we took her. She was a very big girl, although she wasn't so sure she should smile at the photographer. All three adults were about standing on our heads to get this kid to grin, even a little bit! It was ridiculous, but we did end up with several nice photos. I really wanted at least one photo that showed off her 2 teeth, and it looked like we got ONE. I bought her a cute little sundress, and pretty much none of the pics of her wearing that turned out. In one, she grabbed the hem and flashed us, just as he snapped the pic. Such a lady!

This week, a new Dream Dinners opened up closer to where we live. I had been going to one in Durham, which was about 30 minutes away. This one is about 10-15 minutes closer. The same couple owns both stores, and I read that they won an award for highest sales in the country last year! They are always busy, but the workers are always very nice and helpful. In case you haven't heard of Dream Dinners, I encourage you to check them out. It's a real blessing for a family like ours, who really want to eat at home, but don't always have time to make meals from scratch. We're eating frozen pizza no more!!

Last week, we decided to change bath tubs for Emmy. She'd been using a plastic baby tub, and really had outgrown it. She was as long as the tub, and kept kicking the end of it. We had received an inflatable tub as a shower gift, but didn't want to use it until Emmy could sit well. Since she has now mastered that skill, we tried out the new tub. She LOVES it! She has a couple bath toys, and really enjoys splashing around.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back from Ohio



Emmy and I had a great trip to Ohio to visit family. I was a bit nervous about flying solo with Em, but she acted as though airports, planes, and crowds were second nature. This kid is so easy-going! She sprouted another tooth the morning we left, and smiled at anyone and everyone who looked her way to show it off. She charmed every flight attendant, and everyone sitting around us. I was a little stressed, as they cancelled our flight to Columbus, but we were able to get on another plane (routed through Chicago) whiched arrived in Ohio a couple hours later than we originally planned. I was amazed my suitcase didn't get lost in the shuffle.

My Mom and brother picked us up from the airport, and it took about 2 hours to drive to Findlay. We stayed at my Uncle Tim/Aunt Bev's house, which is where my Gram lives now. They were in Atlanta, visiting their first granddaughter, so Emmy didn't get to meet them. My Uncle Mike/Aunt Carolyn were staying with Gram that week, so we got to visit with them as well. It was really nice to just hang out with everyone for a few days. Emmy provided the entertainment, and we just chilled. I got a cute video of Josh reading a book to Emmy...check it out here: Video

We sure missed Keith while we were gone, although he was home with a headcold and made the most of a quiet house. (I have a headcold now, and hope Em doesn't catch it!)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Great News!

About 3 weeks ago, Keith got a call out of the blue from two of his former coworkers from the State who left to go to work at Blue Cross & Blue Shield. They told him about a job opening, and encouraged him to send his resume. He did, and interviewed. He was pretty excited about the details of the job, and especially excited about the location...Chapel Hill, about 15 minutes from home (as opposed to the 45 minute commute to Raleigh each way he has now). He got a call from BCBS today and they offered him the job! We are thrilled! He starts in 2 weeks, on the 20th. A nice perk of this job is they offer emergency daycare. So, if our daycare provider gets sick, or takes a vacation, we have FREE backup daycare! Yippee! Keith wasn't even looking for a different job, this opportunity just sort of fell into his lap.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Miss Snaggletooth

Daycare Drama


Emmy's first day of daycare was Wednesday, and evidently (much to her guilt-stricken mother's horror) she cried the entire day. Actually, so did the other 3 kids in her daycare...poor daycare lady! (Jeffrey's her name) There was another little girl who started the same day Em did, and she wasn't enjoying herself very much. Jeffrey said she had a pretty LOUD cry, and this started a chain reaction. Em hasn't been around other kids much, so being around a very unhappy, loud baby was just more than she could take. Emmy was utterly exhausted when she got home that night. I put her to bed, and she let out one pitiful, half-hearted, "whaaa", and promptly fell asleep. She did great the rest of the week, and was a totally happy, smiling kid each day when I picked her up. Jeffrey said she wishes Em's happy disposition was contagious!

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Week of Firsts

I tell ya, having an infant in the house means being prepared for lots of changes in a short period of time. This week was no exception! Emmy is trying very hard to get her first tooth, yesterday she did her first straight-arm push-up (I was so proud!), we may take her swimming for the first time this weekend, and next week she starts daycare...whew! Oh!!! One more...I gave Em her first haircut today! She needed a trim badly, so I snipped some strands while she did tummy time this afternoon. (got some pics, will upload later) Needless to say, I am terribly behind in scrapbooking her milestones...they just keep adding up! She is quickly approaching the 6 month mark, and we simply can't believe it. She is growing so fast, it almost seems I am putting away clothes on a weekly basis that she has outgrown. Oh my, as my mom would say, she'll be walking, talking and painting her toenails before we know it!

Monday, July 23, 2007

She's Got Skillz



Well, Em's got a new set of skills...she can contort herself into a human pretzel in order to suck on her toes. It's like looking at a circus freak, you simply can't look away. I shot a video of this trick, and uploaded it to Photobucket if you are interested in viewing. Also a cute video of her chasing Amos' tail. She's really fascinated by the cats, and Amos is very tolerant of her pats and squeals of delight. Riley tends to watch from a safe distance...smart kitty.

Em & I are flying into Columbus, Ohio to visit my mom & grandmom in August. Gram is 90, and really wants to hold Emmy again (she met her for the first time in early May). That's an easy way to make a great-Grammy happy, so I will brave a solo flight with Em to do it. It's nonstop, and I'm hoping I can give her a bottle on the ascent to help with her ears. Not sure how I will entertain her for an hour and a half, and I'm seriously thinking a big dose of pre-flight Benadryl might be in order. (just kidding! no, really, I am!)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Potter Mania!

Keith is just about beside himself with glee...he gets to pick up his copy of the 7th installment of the Harry Potter series tomorrow morning. He volunteered to take my car in for an oil change, and I suspect that's so he has an undisturbed hour to read his book at the car place. We've gone to see the 5th movie...dark, very dark. It was pretty good though. I haven't read any of the books, but I think I might start them sometime this summer. I've made Keith keep any big surprises he reads in the books to himself, so I can find out for myself when we see the movies. It's starting to get pretty interesting though, so I'll probably just read the books and find out what the heck happens, rather than waiting 2 years for the 7th movie to come out. Potter mania is about to hit the Stouder house. Oh! And we read recently that there's going to be a Harry Potter theme park somewhere in Orlando (within one of the Disney parks, just can't remember which one). I think it is supposed to open in 2008 or 09, but Keith has already said we will be taking Emmy there someday. I'm sure we will both "suffer through it", for Emmy's sake. We wouldn't want to deprive her of that experience. ;)

Happy Birthday, Chadman!

Hope you had a fantastic day, filled with all things that make Chad happy!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bargain Shopper's Dream

Anyone who knows me well knows I am a true bargain shopper. Clearance rack? Bee line. End of season sale? Outta my way. Double coupons? Cha-ching! Imagine my delight when I heard of a website called The Grocery Game, which promised to save me tons-o-cash with each shopping trip. And, bonus!, you got to try it for the first month for a buck.

Here's the premise...you clip your coupons from the Sunday paper, sort, file in whatever sort of organizer works for you. Enter your zipcode and it brings up the main local grocery stores & pharmacies in your area (ie, CVS, Kroger, Walgreens, Food Lion). Each week, these stores put out sale circulars on a designated day. The GG site has a HUGE database of info on when certain items go on sale, and whether it's at its rockbottom price. (You see, stores do things in cycles that are very predictable...news to me.) The GG site also keeps track of what coupons come out over the weeks, and it matches rock-bottom sale prices with recently released coupons....and what results?! A heck of a deal!

The whole idea is to buy things you would normally use while on mega-sale, and then stockpile for future use. This way, when you run out of an item, you "go shopping" in your pantry, instead of having to run out and buy it at full price. Makes total sense to me (I'm still trying to explain to Keith why we now have 5 tubes of toothpaste in the closet). The best I've done so far is saving 71% off my total purchase at CVS. Yep! Got $62 worth of stuff for $18...plus earned $6 to spend on my next shopping trip. Seriously people...if you haven't signed up for the CVS Rewards card, you are missing out!

I highly recommend checking out The Grocery Game website to learn more about what's involved (and if you decide to sign up, make sure you let them know I sent ya!). I thought I was a pretty savvy shopper before, but it's totally changed the way I think about my purchases, and what I'm willing to pay for stuff. I'll never pay full price for toothpaste again!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Phases

Well, we're going through a phase here in the Stouder household. Emmy, who used to suck down a bottle in 5 minutes flat, no longer wants to eat. She's not running a temp, not pulling her ears, not unusually fussy, still sleeping great...just not that interested in her bottles anymore. She is so easily distracted now, everything is MUCH more interesting than the baba. I've checked her gums repeatedly to see if they were red or swollen...nope. She still chews on her hands and drools, but this has been going on for a good month. We started introducing cereal about 3 weeks ago, and she's finally getting the hang of this "swallowing solid food" thing. I even gave her some prunes yesterday (please see uploaded video on Photobucket site) in an effort to help her move things along. She is struggling a bit in that department since she finished the last of the frozen breastmilk 2 weeks ago. We had been gradually introducing formula to her, but now that she's on 100% formula, the iron must be clogging her up. Alas, I keep telling myself she'll eat when she's good & hungry (and she does drink her 9pm bottle down very well, but she's half asleep at the time!). I wish someone could invent little mini-blinders, like what they put on horses. Then, 90% of the distractions would be gone, and she might eat...unless the cat walks into the room and meows.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Happy 4th!

We hope everyone has a safe & happy July 4th! We've been invited to a cookout at our friends' house, and look forward to visiting with them. I predict a quiet evening at home, as Em's bedtime is around 7pm.

On a sad note, I got news today that my Great Uncle Rich passed away yesterday. He was my Grandpa Teyner's brother, and lived in Bay City, Michigan. He was famous for hosting "big feeds", and loved to take us to the Polish restaurant in town when we visited. He had a large personality, and a big heart. He loved to go to the Upper Peninsula and hunt, and always reported his successes (along with the snowfall measurement) in his Christmas card. I'll miss reading about that this year. Our thoughts are with our Michigan family this week.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Purty!





Emmy had her 3 month portraits taken recently. We think they turned out wonderfully....have a look at some of the shots we ordered!

Happy Father's Day!


It was a joy to celebrate Keith's first Father's Day! Here's a pic of Keith and Emmy...Keith is wearing his present...tick prevention for when he does yard work!!

Happy Dad's Day to our pops!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Walk with Purpose



Last Saturday, Keith and I took part in the local Race for the Cure...the annual Susan G. Komen Foundation's 5k walk to raise money to fight breast cancer. There were over 30,000 people at this Raleigh event, and the weather was hot! We happened to arrive at the same time as 2 nurses I work with in Henderson, so we walked with them. We had a great time, and took part in a great cause. We'll take Emmy next year, and she can ride in her jogging stroller.

Friday, June 15, 2007

New Tricks




This past week, my Mom was down from Indiana for a visit. She watched Emmy for us while we worked, and Mom had a ball with her granddaughter. Emmy tried all kinds of new things, and surprised us all by some new tricks. She is sitting in a highchair now, and likes to have a mirror and a wooden spoon to play with. We set it up so she can survey the backyard and the kitchen, and she has a high ole' time...pun intended. She's really figuring out how to grab toys and studies them closely. She found her feet/toes for the first time this week, and was super fascinated by them (even tried a little toe tasting). She's sitting in her Bumbo seat really well now, and jumps around like mad in her exersaucer....pushing all the noise-making buttons, and giggling. She is mimicking noises really well, and has long baby monologues for us now. She's impressed by her voice, and screeches regularly. In short, we are really enjoying this stage of babyhood!

Thanks, Mom, for helping out so much this week! It was so nice to have you here...come back soon!