Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bragging Rights

I have a journal that I write in for Ellie. It's more of a collection of letters to her that I plan to give her one day. I've been terrible at keeping up with it, and am sad at how few letters I've written over the last 15 months of her life.

Ellie is literally learning new words, sounds, and signs every day. She's become a sponge and sometimes I teach her a new word or sign once and she surprises me with how quickly she uses it correctly. For my own records I want to write down all her words and signs at this point. I worked on this list last night and woke up this morning adding a few more that I had left off. I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting, but here's a starting point:

Words she says:
Da (Dad)
ock (sock)
shews (shoes)
ock (clock)
cheese (when I say snack, she says cheese, her current favorite snack)
new (no)
pa (puff)
ya (yes)
Namy (Amy, as in Aunt Amy)
Bella (Buela)
Bobo (Buelo)
Pop (Hop on Pop-her favorite Dr. Suess book)
cheeze (cheers, which is always followed with a raised cup and waiting for someone to "cheers" with her)
zzz (zip, as in zipper)
ot (hot)
bah (bath)
choo (train)
bowwowwow (dog)
She does lots of other animal noises, but I won't list them as words.

I've been amazed at how quickly Ellie learns sign language. I keep looking up new words to teach her because she learns them so quickly, and I feel fairly inconsistent with teaching her. I'm sure if I put more effort this list would be even longer. I love the idea of teaching her to communicate with signs when her verbal skills can't catch up with the knowledge she has. The fact that she can correctly sign all these things, listen to and obey commands such as "go get that spoon," or, "take that to your room," shows me how much she understands even if her body limits her to what she can say. With sign language, I'm giving her tools to communicate more than she could otherwise. It also has been shown to increase vocabulary later on because it's creating neural pathways and forming brain connections early. What's not to love?
Words she signs:
thank you
There are a few more she has signed once or twice, but I won't count them until she uses them consistently.

She also can correctly identify many body parts:
belly button

I guess this is enough bragging for one day by this proud mama. Our pediatrician told me today that at 15 months the average baby says "mama," "dada," and maybe three more words. I'm so proud of my verbal girl! I guess she's a lot like her momma.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

DIY Christmas Gifts

This year for Christmas I wanted to make as many things as I could. I got a sewing machine last year and was ready to put it to use. Here are a few of my creations. Most of these patterns I found online, so I linked to each page if you want to try to make one yourself. I had tons of fun coming up with ideas (always the hardest part of DIY) and seeing how each creation turned out. I'm pretty proud of each one!

Felt glasses cases, which were fun to stitch by hand.

For two of my nieces I made these super fun purses, and made a little matching doll version for one niece's new American doll. I put their initials on the front.

For my nephews I made sports pillowcases.

Reusable snack bags in a variety of different fabrics. I can't wait to make more for us to use.

A beach bag made from a hand towel.

I also made one of the pincushion jars, but I forgot to take a picture.

Two vintage book travel-tech organizers. I went to our local thrift store and asked to go through the books in the back not worth selling. I did this because I was planning on ripping out all the pages and the books out front are usually in good condition. Plus, I found more fun, old books in the back. The other book I used but didn't get a picture of was a college typewriting textbook. Talk about vintage!
I think this was a Spanish/English book on diseases:

The picture is upside down, but you can see where the cell phone can go under the four strips on the left. The idea is to have all tech gear stuff in one place (what looks like a book) while traveling: headphones, phone, chargers, cords, etc.

I made our newest niece an activity blanket. This is the only thing I've made where I literally had no pattern and made up the entire thing in my head. I started with some fun, bright fabric that had different textures. I added tags around the hand-sewn letter A (which her names begins with) and added some cellophane behind the A and the flowers for some added noise.

The cutest little models ever:

I didn't make this for Christmas, but I've been meaning to post pictures of my latest car seat cover that I made for my college roommate's little boy. This was my second car seat cover but this one is reversible. I'm looking forward to making one for our own little one arriving in June.

I can't wait to continue using my sewing machine to come up with more fun gifts.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Thoughts on Pregnancy #2

It took us a year to get pregnant with Ellie. Before that we had miscarried and had a bout of unsuccessful "trying". Getting pregnant this time around wasn't a shock, as in, we knew it was a possibility, but we honestly didn't expect it to happen the first month, given our history.

We are thankful, of course. I'm relieved that I won't have to deal with month after month of waiting and disappointment. I wouldn't wish that emotional turmoil on anyone, and unfortunately I have several friends who deal with this today. I think about them all the time.

I wasn't sure if I was quite ready for another baby. We've always thought we'd like to have siblings close in age, but as Ellie got older and the thought of growing our family became more real, I had moments of doubt.

I worried about Ellie and how she would do without our undivided attention. Ironically, this is also one of the many reasons we want another baby. I think about having two in diapers at the same time. Or our tiny house and the fact that these two will have to share a room as soon as I decide I can't have a newborn in our room anymore. With Ellie, it was when she was 2 weeks old. (We both slept better as soon as she moved to her own room.) But again, this is also something we want.

I worry if I can handle two at home during the day. I wonder how we can afford another baby and all the doctor visits and appointments and other costs that incur with a baby.

I worry if our marriage gets enough attention now, let alone what will happen with another little one to occupy our time, thoughts, and energy.

I worry that I will be so tired those first several weeks that I will not give Ellie the attention she needs.

I worry that after having such a good-natured, easy-going, good eater and sleeper and overall happy baby that we are in for something altogether different this time around.

But then, I think about all that we have to look forward to. The intense love that pours out the moment we see our tiny little bundle. The cuddles and sweetness of a newborn. The opportunity for Ellie to have a sibling to love and play with and share with and to learn all the important lessons that happen growing up with a sibling.

I often question God's timing
. And once again, in this process, I was a bit surprised at the timing of this baby. But I'm already seeing so many wonderful things about this. I know even future plans that I'm not yet aware of will be affected by this timing, and I see God's hand in it all.

I'm thankful that pregnancy lasts 40 weeks so that we have time to adjust to this new addition, from moving from a family of three to four, to all the other changes that will undoubtedly arise. This pregnancy feels like it's zooming by much more quickly than the last one and I'm trying to soak up all the time I have left with our sweet family of three before our life as we know it changes again forever. I can't wait.