Thursday, September 29

my toddler.

Not long after writing Iris' 11.5 month update, she decided to have a huge growth spurt! During these times, she nurses constantly, wants to be on me all the time and sleeps very little. It's always a bit rough on both of us but this time seems to have been the most difficult so far. The night before last, I got around 3 hours of sleep, I am beyond sore from excessive nursing, Iris has been crying a lot and hanging on me so I can't do anything without her (or I listen to her scream and cry after putting her down). Today has been much better.

On the other hand, it's been awesome to watch her beginning to do a whole bunch of new things all at once! Two days ago, I was talking to a friend and mentioned how much better Iris' balance had gotten. I said, "I think she'll be walking soon!" No less than two minutes later, Iris took her very first 3 steps all by herself!

I was dumbfounded and totally in shock. I thought it would be at least another month! But when she has a growth spurt, she has a growth spurt. Since then she has also learned where her nose is and grabs it when I ask. She knows the words 'lion' and 'tiger', can recognize them and knows that they are big kitties! She knows what 'high-five' means and will hold her little palm up with a smile. She knows what 'open' and 'closed' are and will open and close cupboards when I ask her to. She has started saying 'boo!' while playing peekaboo with me! She can also take up to nine whole steps in a row! 

Oh, my baby has gotten so big she's not even a baby anymore. She is a toddler! She has all the spunk, personality and independence of a toddler. She is so strong and beautiful and bold. Every day is a new adventure.

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I love you, my sweet bunny.

Sunday, September 25

ice cream at the folk festival!







photos credited to my friend L.M.

Iris' first birthday - one month early

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Iris' first birthday was celebrated one month early on September 10. I wanted Marius to be there for her birthday, even if he can't be here for the actual date. We invited as many close friends as could fit comfortably in our little apartment, opened presents, ate delicious food and played with lots of babies. Iris enjoyed playing with her friends but was a bit confounded by her first cupcake. She got lots of help opening presents from her friend Izzy! My baby was very tired by the end of her party, but had a good time nonetheless and so did the adults!

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I spent many long hours making all the decorations for her "Goodnight Moon" theme. Most of the time went into the huge (5' by 6' or so) mural we hung in the kitchen - a scene I painted from the book! My good friend made the gorgeous bunny-in-bed cupcakes; she is so creative! Thank you to everyone who was a part of her birthday celebration!

Saturday, September 24

spot the baby.

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photo credited to Marius

times they are a-changin'...

My love.

My love; my best friend; my husband has deployed to Iraq. 
He left on Tuesday for six months. 
We are all doing alright, but life is very different. 

Iris with her Papa's American Flag hat, which they both love so well.

Before he left, we celebrated Iris' early birthday party.
We spent lots of time together as a family and I hardly spent any time online.
We prepared physically and emotionally for his departure.

We also received orders to Germany!
We've both been to Europe already and have been hoping for this for years.
We'll be moving there when he gets home in the spring.

It's been pretty lonely around here without him, but we have friends here who have made the transition so much easier. Iris has had a few play dates already, and we've gone out to lunch a few times and to Trader Joe's and Hobby Lobby. I spent about 12 hours hand sewing a stuffed kitty for Iris. I'm going to keep busy with crafts, learning German, getting our things ready for moving to Europe and of course, raising the cutest little baby in the world. I'm so grateful that we have the internet and phones to be able to stay in touch with Marius. When I'm feeling sad, I just think about how not long ago he would have gone off to war and I'd have heard nothing from him for years, save a couple of letters. It really puts things into perspective and makes me realize how lucky we are to have this technology. I miss him, but we are still together no matter how far apart.

This is no longer only my personal blog to write about Iris and my life, but Marius' way of watching his baby girl grow up for the next six months. Our family; our love is strong, and so we shall remain.

eleven and a half months

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Iris has made huge progress with eating in the last few days. She now eats nectarines, tortellini with tomato sauce, herbed harvati cheese, whole wheat crackers, hummus, ice cream, and baby carrots! I knew she would start eating when she was ready to, not when anyone else wanted her to. For right now, she likes me to hold her while we eat together and she sticks out her little tongue for me to place a bit of food there. The whole process can take up to an hour, which hurts my arm but is so worth it to see her enjoying it!

Iris has also made some pretty big leaps in terms of intellect. She recognizes cats with no prompting, either in books, printed on clothing and most recently the kitty I made for her out of felt. She knows the colors red and blue (at least when we're playing with colored links in the bath). She can put a cylindrical shaped block into the circle hole on her shape sorter and brings books over to me to read. Iris also loves to hold objects out to people and 'show' them what she has. She likes when we name what the object is and will also share. 

Much to our surprise, Iris recently started calling her Dada... Papa! She says "Papapapa!" and loves him so very much. When I hand her a comb and ask, "what do you do with a comb?" she combs her hair and then tries to comb mine! She also mostly grasps the difference between a hair brush, paint brush and tooth brush. She knows what "excuse me" means, moving out of the way a bit before I even need to show her why. I expect she understands about a fourth of what I say now and surprises me daily with her comprehension. Yesterday, I asked her if she wanted to feed her stuffed kitty some "memems" (milk) and she pushed the kitty at my chest with a delighted squeal. 

She constantly points to things she finds interesting! She has pointed to me and said "mama!" She has pointed to a picture of her Papa and said "papa!" When she's in the mood, she also says "meme", "kitty" and "meow!" She has 8 teeth and I assume more are coming considering how much she still wakes up crying at night. She is standing on her own now and walks while holding only one of my hands. She'd rather walk than crawl these days! She's definitely giving the Kitty some good exercise! She also starts clapping when I tell her it's bath time and will spend a good half an hour splashing around. She is also in love with the dish washer and enjoys helping me with laundry.

Almost a year old... oh, where did the time go?

Thursday, September 1

introducing my new super sweet lens!

My 24th birthday was this past Monday! Marius got wonderful presents for me, as usual! This year, it was a professional tripod, a 50mm lens for my camera and a couple other accessories including HDR software! The 50mm is completely different from what I'm used to - I love it! Read about it here.
Here is my favorite photo I've taken with it so far.
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Welcome, 50mm! We are going to get along great!