Monday, December 31, 2012

Farewell, 2012

Admittedly, I'm a bit sad to bid farewell to 2012 tonight. The end of the 2009 brought the same kind of emotion, and in looking back at my post from New Year's Eve that year, I realized how very similar my sentiment was then.

It’s not that I don’t want the New Year to arrive; 
I just don’t want to say goodbye to what has been a beautiful, exciting, life-changing year. 

Exactly. Well-said, self.

The past year has been a special one for Bobby and me, primarily focused on preparing for, welcoming, and getting to know our little girl.  (Truth be told, though, it takes effort to think back to much of the year before Emerson's birth day...what did we do with ourselves before July 1st?!) It's difficult to move on from the past year, as it has been such a wonderful season of our life. Time marches on, though, and the new year is very much upon us. 

As I write this post, I'm watching Emerson play with toys on the floor of her nursery. She's looking up at me with a smile and lots of giggles as if to say "this is just getting good, isn't it Mom?" What a sweet reminder. One that I needed. Seeing that smile...that precious face that shines with the promise of the future...has filled my eyes with tears. How could I possibly doubt that the coming days with her will be any less full of wonder than the past months have been? Precious days are ahead. (Including, in the immediate future, Emerson's first taste of solid food...tomorrow she'll be six months old!)

This little girl is teaching me so many things, including a mindset that I think would serve me well to adopt in the coming year. To laugh because it feels good, to explore, to be curious, to discover, to find joy in life's simple pleasures.

When I think of 2012, I will recall it as a the year when my life changed forever. As the year when I fell into a new kind of love. It was a year unlike any other, and I'm celebrating all the joy that it held.

But, I'm certain that 2013 will be full of new and exciting experiences, too...our little world, no doubt, still revolving around the happenings of the littlest Phillips. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Here's to health, happiness, & solid food! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Emerson: Five Months

December 1, 2012

  • You are wearing 6-9 month clothes. The 6 month clothes are getting a bit short, but I'm trying to squeeze the last bit of wear out of them before completely switching over. The 9 month clothes seem so big, and it's hard to believe how quickly you're growing!
  • You are enjoying your voice these days, and discovering all it can do. Your pitch has become a bit higher, and sometimes you use what Daddy refers to as your "pterodactyl voice". You certainly know how to get our attention with your shrieks, and you get a kick out of doing so. You seem happy to be learning how to communicate with us...and with Royal.
  • You know when it's bath time, and as soon as your clothes start coming off, you are all smiles. Your face lights up when I say "are you ready for your bath?" and you usually answer with a precious coo and lots of laughter. 
  • As soon as you get in the bath these days, though, you're all business! You grab the washcloth and immediately begin to suck all the water out. It's as if you have a job to do, and you get very serious. You are content to be tended to, with your leg sprawled over the side. While you're getting washed, you try your best to get the cup from Daddy while he pours water on you. Rubber Ducky has become a friend, too, and you like to chew on him before it's time to dry off.
  • You have two teeth! The first one seemed to give you some trouble, and there were a couple of days when your gums were obviously bothering you, but for the most part, they weren't too much of a problem. (We noticed a little extra drooling, lots of chewing on your hands, and restlessness when you tried to go to sleep at night.) Within a week, your second bottom tooth emerged! We were surprised to see them so soon! You continue to amaze us!
  • Occasionally, you'll wake up in the middle of the night (we suspect due to teething pains), but usually you sleep from around 8:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. And, we thank you for that!
  • Still no naps in your crib, but your sleep pattern during the day is becoming even more defined. You consistently sleep for an hour or so after you eat breakfast, and then you're ready for an afternoon nap around 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. 

  • You've started rubbing your eyes and tugging on your hair when you're getting tired. It's precious, and we appreciate the obvious clues to your need for sleep!
  • You spend lots of time in your "Jenny Jump-Up" and have gotten it figured out over the course of the last month. You know how to spin around and turn toward where the action is, and when Royal heads in your direction, your face gets all scrunched because you know a "kiss" might be coming. You enjoy being at his level, though! 
  • We feel guilty eating in front of you now. You are so interested in our food, and reach for my plate regularly. We're trying to wait until you turn six months old to introduce solids...we'll see if that happens. Nursing has become less frequent, though you still have a strong appetite!
  • You drank water from Mommy's cup a couple of times, and seemed like such a big girl when you did so. You tried to hold the glass yourself, and seemed so proud to be able to try something the big people do. 
  • You like having toys around you, and enjoy having something to play with, watch, or chew on. Your activity level is definitely increasing.
  • You're still playing with your feet and have been trying to get them into your mouth. They're fun toys that are always there! 
  • You've mastered rolling onto your side, and have rolled from your tummy to your back a couple of times, though it still seems accidental. You can usually see or grab what you're interested in by arching your back and stretching, and it doesn't seem that you're particularly motivated to roll over. You're just so content!
  • You have begun to wriggle around on the changing table much more, which makes changing your diaper more exciting. You were squirming around on the bathroom counter at Daddy's office one day, and reached up and squirted some soap out of the soap dispenser. It's a joy to see you so active and curious!
  • Grocery shopping and errand-running has become so much easier! You are usually happy to be in the car and seeing the sights at the store, and it's great having you out-and-about with me.
  • Your hair seems to be lightening by the day, and the hair at your neck has really grown. It's just beautiful.
Emerson, you are so much fun to be with and get to know. 
I want to remember everything about you, just as you are these days....
I hope you are always as content, as inquisitive, and as full of wonder as you are right now.
You're teaching Mommy so much.
I love you, little girl.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmastime Around Here

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is decorating the Christmas tree.

More specifically, I love the excitement of opening and looking through the fresh-from-storage boxes. Though the contents remain relatively unchanged year after year, there's something magical about seeing what's inside & revealing the treasures that are only in sight approximately 1/12th of the year.

It's a tradition that is (as I suppose most traditions are) comforting in its constancy. Year after year, the process is the same & the reflection similar as I reminisce on our collection of ornaments.

Themed Christmas trees are beautiful, and they have their place. I enjoy seeing them at Silver Dollar City, at the mall, or in a designer magazine. In our home, though, I far prefer what is essentially the 'story of our life' displayed through each ornament...a visible reminder of the many milestones and memories we have to reflect on and enjoy.

"Our First Christmas-2009"
"Our New Home"
the souvenirs from our honeymoon in St. Lucia and our vacation to Mexico
the Mizzou Tiger from my years in Columbia
the annual glass-blown balls from Bobby's office
...and the one we'll be adding this year, celebrating Emerson's birth. 

Each ornament makes me smile and reminds me of the beauty of this life we're building. What began as a small collection of ornaments is growing with each passing year of memories made.

As much as I value the constancy of our tree and the tradition of decorating for the season, I'm excited for the changes in years ahead, too. For the ornaments we'll add signifying milestones in our family, and for the handmade decor that Emerson will contribute. For the years when the ornaments will be a few feet higher to remain out of reach, and for the years when they will all be gathered at the bottom of the tree, because that's as high as little hands could reach to place them.

Regardless, I know the tree will tell our family's story.


Bobby usually places the ornaments on the tree itself. (I find it too stressful. Leave it to me to find an element of Christmas decorating to be stressful.) I'm happy to assist with this task, aiding by putting the hangers on the ornaments beforehand, and then handing each one off to him.

I was, admittedly, less helpful this year than usual. (To his credit, Bobby did an excellent job without me.) Emerson doesn't yet quite appreciate the sentimentality of the occasion, and wasn't content to sit still while I reminisced over each memento. Thus, she and I danced around the living room to what I consider the soundtrack of my childhood Christmases. Though I'm certain my family listened to many tapes and CD's as I grew up, there is one album that I associate with preparing for the holiday. And so, it plays in our home each year as we decorate the tree.

Emerson grew restless as we decorated and danced, and after a while, she and I sat down in the living room rocking chair. Having been displaced by the tree, the chair was in a new corner, but allowed for a perfect view of the tree-decorating in progress. While Emerson nursed, I watched Bobby as he mindfully placed each ornament, according to significance, in a special spot on the tree.

As he did that, my mind wandered to next Christmas, picturing sweet Emerson helping (or, "helping") her daddy decorate the tree. Or, the Christmases after that, when perhaps Emerson will dance around the living room as little brothers or sisters watch the scene with wonder....

I blinked away tears as I imagined the future with great anticipation.

And then, as the Christmas music playlist ended, the next songs in our iTunes library began...instrumental, lullaby hymns. Bobby continued his work to the gentle melody of "Holy, Holy, Holy"...peaceful and worshipful music that so appropriately suited the occasion and this season of life with our little girl. Perfect for Emerson as she drifted to sleep in my arms...& a perfect illustration for Mommy of just how unique and precious this Christmas is.