Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall Family Photos

A few weeks ago, our new friend Mary took some more family photos for us. She does an excellent job and we love working with her. It sure helps that we have the cutest kid on the planet! Enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

London is One and Grandma Abel is Eighty!

Brenna got to go to TWO birthday parties this weekend! She's decided parties are fun and she can't wait to have her own party in a few short months. First, on Saturday, we celebrated London's first birthday. How is it possible that he's a year old already?
London, his mama, his baby "sister" in utero, and his girlfriend on his birthday
not a fan of the messy hands...
Brenna tried to chear him up!
sneaking a taste of icing
opening his gift from Brenna
awww - sharing
chillin' with her future father-in-law
Then, on Saturday we snuck away to Bristol to surprise my grandma at her surprise 80th birthday party. She had NO clue and never suspected that when I called her to wish her happy birthday, that we were really on the way to her party! So fun!
Wasn't my grandma a hottie?
holding great-grandchild #3
This was probably her favorite part of the party - Brenna and Jayla together again!
my uncle Tommy and Aunt Sue, my grandma, my great-aunts Phyllis, Kat, Gay and Nancy, and my great-uncles Jack, Bill, and Pat
4 generations of Abel girls
Happy Birthday Grandma Abel and London! We love you both and we really enjoyed celebrating both of your birthdays this weekend!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I want to move to Australia. If you've ever read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day then you know that I must have a had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Thanks to my friend Lisa for the analogy.

Today was bad. It started with a note from a parent accusing me of giving her kid a test on something I never taught. Apparently doing a lesson on fact/opinion that involves 19 kids giving me a fact and an opinion on a given topic and discussing them 19 TIMES isn't enough. So that just put me in a sour mood.

Until I got The Email. Same parent. I realize this isn't the most professional blog I've ever written, so I at least won't blast on the world wide web all of the things that were brought up, but suffice it to say that I'm the sole reason her kid hates school, I'm not actually teaching anything but rather sending it home to all be done for homework, I'm the reason she fights with her kid, they do 2 hours of homework each night, and of course - the classic - she's talked to other parents and they "all" feel the same way and NO other teachers at ANY other school makes their kids work as hard as I do. Right.

After speaking with several other parents who all made me feel better, I just can't shake this on-the-verge-of-tears feeling I've had since reading that email. I love teaching but I don't want to be a teacher right now. But, I'm trying my hardest to be the best teacher I can for this group of kids regardless - and that involves setting high expectations and challenging them. To hear someone tell you that their child hates school because of you hurts. And I've learned a lot about the kind of parent I want to be when Brenna is old enough to be in school and have teachers.

So, if you have kids in school - take a minute to say thank you to their teacher. Even if you don't love him or her, I can almost guarantee they are taking time out from their families to invest in your child. And if you do love him or her, encourage him/her with a note or email.

I want to move to Australia.

Monday, October 4, 2010

7 Months Old!

Dear Brenna,

Another month has come and gone. It seems like we just got back from our Washington, D.C. trip on your 6 month birthday. But, here we are, in October! This month has probably been the most fun of any of your months yet. Your personality is really developing and you've changed more this month than any of the others. It's so fun to watch you grow!

I'll start off with your big milestone of the month - You are a crawler, Brenna. You were really close for so long. Seriously, I probably have 15 videos called "Brenna almost crawls" because I grabbed it so many times. But, on Monday, September 20, I grabbed it at just the right time. You took off while we were playing in the floor and went maybe 2 or 3 "crawls" and then fell to your belly. But, then you did it again! I was so proud o you and you just seemed confused about why I was shouting and clapping. But, ever since then you have gotten to be much more interested in crawling - and you've perfected your skills. Sometimes you use your feet instead of your knees, but you still get where you are wanting to go. You are loving your new mobility, and it's fun to watch you entertain yourself with your toys. It's not, however, too much fun worrying about you finding something you aren't supposed to. We are having to be extra careful about leaving things around and keeping the floor vacuumed up! It's worth it though to give you a safe place to explore.

You've also been eating baby food almost every day. You have only been eating about 1 ounce a day (around our dinnertime), but just today we started you on two "meals" a day - you'll start out with 1 ounce at lunch with Kate and Liam and then 1-2 ounces at dinner with us. You still need to nurse plenty, so I don't want you to get too full. Speaking of nursing - you are still nursing each morning and every afternoon and evening. You take two bottles of frozen milk while you are at Kate's. I also let you "play" with a sippy cup several times a day - and I think you get a little water from it at times. You've had most of the baby food vegetables - squash, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, and green beans. You've also added two fruits - bananas which you didn't care for (probably the texture!) and apples - which you loved. Mommy also made you your first "homemade" baby food - sweet potatoes - and you literally almost gagged on it. I think you like Gerber food better, for now.

You've had two fevers this month. One was after your 6 month shots and it broke after a little Motrin. The other was last night after our picture session. A little Tylenol broke it in about ten minutes, and neither ever seemed to bother you. It scares me when you get sick and it just breaks my heart. I know we have many, many sicknesses ahead of us yet, but I dread them all. I'm trying really hard not to bring home any germs from school. You still have no teeth - but I expect them before too much longer. I just hope they don't hurt you too badly.

You've finally outgrown most of your 0-3 month clothing and moved in to almost all of your 3-6 month clothes. You still wear your size small diapers - but we've mixed in a few mediums lately and they seem to fit, too. You're so cute in your cloth diapers, Brenna. They are extra work for Mommy, but I don't mind! We'll probably go back to get the other part of your flu shot this month, so we'll get to see if you've gained any more weight! I must admit, I kind of like you being on the small side - it lets me savor the little baby stage AND you're healthy, so it works for us!

You're back on a great nap schedule - thank goodness! You're getting up about 6:45 to eat before going to Kate's and then you nap from about 8:45 or 9:00 until 10:15. You take a bottle at 10:30 and play/eat lunch before your next bottle at 1:30. You then take another long nap - usually from 1:45 or 2:00 until 3:30 or 4:00. Kate is thrilled that you are back to being a good napper, and we love it on the weekends, too. You wake up so happy and full of life - and it's a great time to play with you. You love to knock down our block tower creations, read your Elmo book, play with your car toy and ring toy, and play peek-a-boo with or without stuffed animals. Your laugh is the most precious sound on this earth and I never want to forget it.

You still aren't too cuddly, but you ocassionally give us a glimpse of that side of you. The other night you were really tired while lying in my arms after nursing before bed. I gave you your paci and just held you while you snuggled me. I closed my eyes and tried to take it all in. I know I will miss these days and I never want to forget the way it feels to hold my girl in my arms. Lately, you've been waking up a few times at night, but usually just want your paci back or to be repositioned. Sometimes you are just making noise in your sleep, but we still wake up to check on you. No complaining from us though - you are a great sleeper. We put you down about 8:00 at night and usually have to wake you up about 6:45 in the morning. Thank you, baby.

You're growing too fast, Brenna, but it's fun to interact with you more and more. I love you more than I ever thought possible and my love grows by the minute. Daddy and I often talk about how we never imagined we could love you this much and how much joy you bring to our lives. We're off to month eight - bundle up because it's going to be a chilly month, including your very first Halloween!

I love you, my super sweet little Sprout!

Love, Mommy

Friday, October 1, 2010

Wild Child

Our girl is crawling up a storm. She crawled for the first time on September 20, but didn't really do it again much until last weekend. Since then, she's figured out she can go places - and boy, does she ever! She loves anything that she shouldn't be near, and we're chasing her around all over the place. But, here is how it all started....the day my baby became a crawler!