Wednesday, January 27, 2010

8 Months Old

Time seems to be flying by and our little Addibell seems to be growing up so fast. It feels like I was just posting about her 7 month milestones and here we are now on 8 months. Here are a few pictures we took tonight during bath time. She loves her baths but since the tubes have been put in her ears - she can no longer lay down in the tub. So now we sit back and relax in this cool little chair Aunt Michelle loaned us.

Addison is getting to a very fun age where it seems she is learning something new everyday. I'm finally starting to understand those parents who say they grow up so fast. This month she has continued to master her pincer fingers by picking up her cereal snacks and munching on them. She's always been good at this but I must say it is also her favorite thing to do. Just sitting in her booster seat feeding herself. We've also gone back and forth with learning the sippy cup. We've been practicing for some time on drinking it without the rubber stopper (with Mommy's help) and just today we graduated back to drinking it WITH the rubber stopper. She still needs Mommy's help in holding it and directing it to her mouth but once it's there she chugs the water down. I'm wondering how much more she'll like it when we switch to some apple juice soon.

She is also into this new thing where she leans almost at a ninety degree angle when she checks something or someone out. It's adorable and she just started doing it. I'm guessing she learned it from me when I curl my hair and she gets to sit in the bumbo and watch. Most of the time I'm leaning while I curl and before long I noticed she started doing it too and smiling at me.

She still LOVES little babies and little kids. Anytime there are some nearby she can stare at them and study their every movement. It's so fun seeing her get to that age where she smiles and stares at the tiny babies. It's not very often she gets to see someone smaller than her!

She is currently also experiencing some separation anxiety mixed in with a lil stranger anxiety. We are both learning to cope with this. It's very difficult some days to even leave the room without her crying for me to come back. I think she's finally learning that we are two separate people. I will be very excited when she's through this stage and she starts going to people again like she used to.

She just recently learned how to blow raspberries. I must say it's cute but ONLY when she's playing - not when she's eating. I'm still teaching her when she's allowed to and when she's not and so far I think she's catching on. She gets very excited when she plays and starts shaking her arms crazily while she shouts/jabbers and blows her raspberries. I've also nicknamed her "Jabbawockey" because of all the jabbering she can do. It's very cute.

Let's see - what else has she learned? I'm trying to teach her some basic sign language and I think she's understanding but obviously not yet ready to duplicate my actions just yet. Hopefully one of these days she'll just take off and start signing everything and just blow me away. That way she'll be able to tell us what exactly she needs before she can actually say the word.

I think that about sums up her 8 month milestones. I don't have her current weight/height since we don't go back to the doctor until her 9 month appointment so stay tuned for that. Just trust me when I say she's definitely a chunky monkey and we love to squeeze her about 10 times/day. She's very used to our random squeezes. They don't even phase her anymore. :D

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

7 Months Old

So, again delayed, this post is two-fold. One, to catch everyone up on what we've been up to lately and how Addison's ear surgery went, and two, to fill everyone in on her 7 month milestones and pics.

First, I must apologize for leaving everyone hanging with the ear tube update. Everything was a success - just as expected. And believe me, when they tell you it will only take 15 minutes it will! From start to finish it was only 15 minutes! Phew! :D

Surprisingly our biggest worry was about how she'd handle the fact she couldn't eat before surgery. If you know Addison, she LOVES her bottle and is very used to having it waiting for her when she wakes up. Either that or her cereal. But in this case she couldn't have either. I did make sure to give her one last full bottle at 11:30 at night so she'd last a little bit longer in the morning. We all headed out at 6:00 am for the hospital and luckily didn't encounter any bad roads along the way. Since she was first on the surgery docket, we got checked right in and got her all set to go. Next, we waited for the doctor before she could be taken back to the operating room. This was a little more tricky since hunger was starting to set in. After many attempts at distraction within our little pre-op room, she was hitting her limit and was ready to go back to bed. Luckily the doctor showed up and everything was ready to go. The nurse walked her back to the operating room and she didn't cry once. She was more curious and just stared at her the whole way back. I did tear up a bit just to see them walk away with her but I was able to regain my composure. John and I sat in a little waiting area and within 15 minutes the doctor came out with the successful update and a few seconds of him talking to us, they brought her out to me. Poor thing, I could hear her crying as they walked down the hall. There was a little bit of pain for her but after we got her bottle going she handled it like a trooper. She did stop and whimper a couple of times but still did so well with all of it. She was so exhausted and managed to fall asleep before we could make it home. And since then everything has been fine. We go back for a follow-up next week and we hope the tubes stayed in place - otherwise we have to do it all again. She never was extremely fussy before but she's been doing great since as well. And her sore little bottom is FINALLY starting to get better! :D So, thanks to everyone for the advice, support, and prayers. All is on it's way to getting better!

And here is a picture of what we've been up to since her surgery. Yup, if you look close enough you'll see her new little ponytail! It took Mommy a couple of tries to get it just right and this is the closest we came to it. She's always had a ton of hair for her age but this is the first time we tried putting it up. And boy was it hard to do! Not only was she constantly moving but her hair was soooo thin that it was near impossible to get a hair tie wrapped around it quick enough. But all that work was definitely worth it. She looks sooo adorable and grown up with her new ponytail. Now I can't wait to learn more hairdos!!

And now, for her 7 month update. We don't have stats at this month but we've been to the doctor plenty enough to know that she currently weighs 18 lbs 12 oz. She is a chunk! But sooo fun to squeeze and kiss so we love it. She is still such a good baby and now has two teeth on the bottom. So far, no more have made their debut yet. She loves to laugh and can sit up pretty well on her own. If she falls over she just keeps going/playing. She is such an easy going baby and we enjoy getting to know her personality more and more everyday. She LOVES kids. No matter what it is, she loves watching them, playing with them, smiling at them, laughing at them. She also loves watching cartoons - mostly Dora The Explorer. Something about that show just fascinates her. And it's always nice to get her entertained long enough for me to get something done as well. She loves bubbles and loves playing with her bathtub bubble blower she got for Christmas. It makes bath time even more fun than it was before! She's had a few rough nights with sleep but we couldn't figure out if that was due to teeth or ears etc. Luckily with a few schedule changes I think we've finally got our great sleeping baby back. She loves to run errands with Mommy - especially when she gets out of the carseat and gets to sit in the grocery cart or high chair - depending on where we are. It's so hilarious to watch her face as I carry her into Walmart. She just stares at everything we pass and has this HUGE smile on her face. She smiles at everyone we walk by as well. It's just a whole new world when you get to see it from a vertical position! And I know I may be biased but I must mention that we get complimented all the time on how adorable she looks. At our new doctors office, the check-in nurse couldn't stop talking about it and then proceeded to send the other office lady out into the lobby to find us so she could look at her cuteness too. We couldn't even leave the doctors office without each nurse googling at her. Even at the Walmart Pharmacy our checkout lady had to notify all of the other checkers to "Come look at the adorable little Gerber baby". I must say that hearing all of that NEVER gets old. Just reaffirms to me that we have one good looking little princess and everyone else agrees!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ready & Willing

Surgery, here we come! This is the face of a 7 month old who has dealt with one too many ear infections. Technically she's only had three but I must say those three have been consistent since she was 3 months old. I think we were lucky enough to enjoy a 2 week break somewhere in there but in the end they returned.

This week the heavens parted and we were able to see Dr. Black (ENT) MUCH sooner than originally planned. Heavenly Father answered our prayers and gave us snow - lots of it! So much so, that an opening became available the next day at 8:00 to consult with the ENT. (My prayers of having a family of 5 get stuck in the ditch musta been answered after all! ;-) This picture was taken as we were waiting in the room to meet with Dr. Black. I can guarantee you Mommy's face was smiling just as big as Addison's is here.

Our appointment was successful and as it turns out we get to enjoy relief much sooner than anticipated. We will be braving the snow in our 4 WD (if need be) to get to the hospital on time tomorrow morning at 6:30. Our doctor even assured us he'd be doing the same in his 4 WD.

Overall, it's been a long road to haul with multiple ear infections, cycling through even MORE antibiotics that never worked, and many many doctor appointments that continued to tell us -nope the ear infection is not gone - still there. Now on top of it all, the antibiotics have Addison's PH balance so screwy that she has a sore sore little bum. The poor thing starts crying after she poops and we lay her on the changing table just b/c she knows pain is nearing. But now, so so soooo glad we see a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm nearing the brink of exhaustion with all of this.

What is interesting in all of this is that Addison has been a VERY happy baby despite all the complications and yuckies that her ears have brought on. I'm sure the poor little girl thinks this is what "normal" is. But, I'm VERY excited to see how well she does after all is fixed and well.

I've also been swimming around in quite a bit of mommy guilt and stress and anxiety/worry. Mommy guilt because I was the one that gave the bad ears to her. I had tubes in my ears when I was about 4 years old. My few memories are of waking up and puking on the doctor and afterward, getting to pick out a toy while my siblings looked on, since I was such a good girl. Sad to say that now I've found one of the FEW things she inherited from me was this. :( But John has done a good job of assuring me that as powerful as I think I am, I cannot control genetic DNA so I'm coming to terms with it all.

The only remaining worry/anxiety is how I'll be able to handle seeing my little 7 month old go under w/anesthesia tomorrow morning. Even if it is just mild and general, it's going to be hard to watch. Granted, I think I'd have a hard time regardless of what age she was, even if she were 25 years old. However, I'm prepared to push through the pain knowing that she'll be pain free when it's all said and done and it will all soon be a distant memory. Luckily the procedure itself only takes about 5 min/ear. And coincidentally, that is the only amount of time I think I can bear to not be with her. Thank heavens it's not any longer than it is.

So, please keep us in your prayers over the next day or so. I know the procedure itself will be simple and quick and is quite common - but it will be a new experience for us regardless. Can't wait for it all to be over with soon and bring home an even happier baby than before.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Great Minds Think Alike!

This past December 15th, John and I were able to celebrate our 2nd year anniversary. It's amazing how time flies when you're having fun. And it's also amazing how many blessings we received during our 2nd year of marriage. Mostly, Addison joining our family and being such a happy and healthy little girl. We can't imagine life without her and sometimes I just find myself staring at her and thinking "I cant' believe you're mine!"

But alas, this post is dedicated to talking about the love of my life. I'll avoid getting too mushy but I definitely want it to be known that I can't imagine life without John. When I do, it scares me. He makes our lives so much better and happier just being a part of it. He works hard for our family, works hard to make sure we are comfortable and taken care of, and makes us laugh all the time. I couldn't picture anyone that is a better fit for me than him and am still amazed when I think about how fragile the path was that we took to find each other. It proves to me constantly that the Lord is aware of us and everything happens for a reason. Sometimes when I feel like He's not listening, I just remember all of my blessings that He has given me, especially the blessing of meeting and marrying John.

This year for our anniversary we got each other a small gift. Apparently great minds think alike. The minute I had John open his present from me he immediately said, "uh yeah I think you'll be blogging about this one." I was puzzled until I opened his gift to me. Below are the two gifts given...

The gift I gave John. To put in Addison's nursery and remind us of our wonderful gift we received this year.

The gift John gave me. It's fittingly called "Our Anniversary". And yes, I did remind him that the representation of him in this statue is balding. Luckily he is not - yet. ;-)

Apparently we both know each other's love for these Willow Tree figures. I thought it was hilarious that we both gifted each other the same thing.

Later for our anniversary we had our wonderful friend Dana watch Addison while we headed out for a quick night on the town. We ate the MOST DELICIOUS meal evah! I highly recommend eating at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I had heard rave reviews from friends and it didn't take me long to pick that place when John asked where I wanted to go. It definitely did not disappoint. I also happened to order just the right menu choices and couldn't stop talking about how delicious everything was. Interestingly enough, when our food came the waiter just naturally assumed that I had ordered the "Petite Sirloin" and began to place it in front of me, I just laughed and said uh nope that's his - I ordered the NY Strip! (Lol, that's right, the half slab o beef belongs to me!) The restaurant was a favorite of mine but since it costs a small fortune to eat there I must curb my cravings until our next anniversary. Yum. Yum.

So here is to celebrating the best two years of my life with my best friend. I'm so grateful that I found him after years of searching. I can't wait to see what awaits us in our future.

Friday, January 1, 2010

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth!

Addibell asked.....and Santa delivered!

Can you see 'em? You hafta squint realllllly hard but they are there I promise! She's too mobile to get a good shot of them. But you can count 'em yourself. 2 bottom teeth! Can't wait to see more!

We all enjoyed celebrating Addison's first Christmas this year. Needless to say, she got a little more than her two front teeth. What can we say? Santa Claus must really like our little girl! We finally got to see him and have her sit on his lap. John's been so busy at work lately that the only day we could do it was the day of Christmas Eve. I was dreading a possible line so we showed up right at 10:00 am and went right through with ease. And needless to say, she doesn't take after her Mom when sitting on the beard-y strange red-suited man's lap. She loved it! She spent more time arching her back to try and get a good look at him than she did smiling for me and the camera.

Afterward, we all celebrated by watching her take her first ride ever - the Carousel. She loved that too. Luckily Daddy got to take her so I didn't get have to get dizzy. (Did I mention I get carsick playing Mario Kart?)

Here are a few impromptu family shots after the carousel ride.

We were lucky enough to spend Addison's first Christmas with this purty lady - Grandma Bell!

We had lots of fun carrying on in our family traditions of Christmas Eve pajamas, reading The Night Before Christmas and the story of our Savior's birth, and then waking up early on Christmas Day to find our stockings and open presents. I don't have a ton of pics of this since most was video taped instead.

Here is a picture of the stocking Santa Claus left for Addison. She enjoyed all of it but the Baby Mum Mum's. We busted into those to see what she thought of them and within a few minutes of chewing, she gagged it all up. Guess we'll shelve those for another month or so!

We had Addibell open her presents first while we all watched since we wanted to get it all in before her morning nap. She was far more interested in the paper - especially EATING the paper. And even once the presents were unwrapped she still didn't understand since they were all still boxed. John and I quickly got initiated on the parent role of battery installing, constructing, and building. Once they were built - she loved them. She has now entered the world of "Talking Toys" and needless to say it has blown her away. She just sat and beamed at it all - amazed that these things were talking to HER! I loved seeing her get excited about it all and just sitting and smiling so big while staring at them. However, after a couple of days of stepping on them or having them randomly start playing over and over - I'm starting to rethink my excitement.

So far though, Grandma Bell wins the "Best Present" award. We just un-boxed and assembled that today and she loves it the most since it requires the least amount of moving to play with it.

Christmas was a blast and now we don't have any need to buy more toys until her birthday in May. I'm still wondering where exactly I'm going to store all of this.

After our own family Christmas we got to enjoy some delicious dinner of ham and potatoes at Grandma Jean and Grandpa Joe's house. She even got MORE presents once we arrived there. It was fun to see some cousins and sit back and relax amidst all the chaos. Then the next day we headed to Willard to spend some Christmas time with my side of the family. Once again the chaos was enjoyed and presents were opened and ham was eaten. We had sooooo much fun celebrating the holidays with our little girl for the first time, spending time with family, relaxing, shopping, laughing, and most of all celebrating the birth of our Savior. Thanks to everyone that made it such a great success but most of all to Him for sacrificing the most.

First Snow Day!

Anyone getting visions of the movie: A Christmas Story when they look at this pic?
Except I think she's MUCH cuter than he was.

While in Kansas City we had a TON of fun with our cousins. We shopped, we napped, we ate, we played. We did a little of everything and we were exhausted but we still had lots of fun. While there we got hit with a big snow storm so Addison even got to enjoy her first snow.

Addison and Ashlyn were the best of buddies. Ashlyn could get her laughing better than I could. She played this little "Where are the footsies" game with her while covering/uncovering her feet and Addison just thought she was hilarious. Ashlyn was even such a GREAT helper to me as well! Made me glad I had a girl first. If Addison is as helpful as Ashlyn was then I could probably see myself able to handle more than one child! (Nope, no announcements here folks)

Ashlyn helped with the diapers, watching her while I got stuff done, making her smile, giving her the binky, giving her toys, talking to her when she was sad - she did everything! Addison just adores Ashlyn. It's so fun to see them interact and play together. Thanks so much for being my personal assistant Ashlyn!

Here is a shot of the kiddos with their Santa hats on. We stopped for a quick photo op amidst Christmas decorating - just because they were so cute.

Michelle took advantage of my free babysitting services during our stay (yes I had to insist that she leave them while she went and got stuff done). We had lots of fun. Here we are making sugar cookies with Ashlyn and Preston. Addison just got to watch us but she still had a great time. And yes folks, that dough was premade store bought. Do you know how exhausting it is to roll, cut, and cook cookies with kiddos as it is? There was no chance we were doing anything from scratch.

Just as we finished our project, Michelle came home and got everyone excited to head out and play in the snow. I was already exhausted just from the cookies alone but I'm glad I pushed through the pain because we did have a great time in the snow.

Here we are showing of our cute snow boots. Luckily Ashlyn had some old ones that fit Addibell perfectly and looked oh so adorable on her. Nothing like playing in the snow and looking cute at the same time! It took longer for us all to get geared up than it did to actually play in the snow.

Just some random pictures of my beautiful little girl. She LOVED the snow. For those that already know, Addison sweats ALL the time. So I think this fact alone contributed for her love of the snow. Finally she was able to get to her core temperature. Even if she was dressed up like the abominable snowman.

Addison could have stayed out there all day she was having so much fun. But we were lucky enough to get temporary smiles on Preston & Ashlyn's faces for this picture. They were ready to head back in so we did. It was such a fun time though!

Grandpa Bell

Our Christmas celebration got off to an early start this year. "Early" as in the week after Thanksgiving. We were lucky enough to have Grandpa Bell and Grandma Marchelle visit us from Utah. We were able to meet up with them in Kansas City and celebrate a good ole-fashioned family Christmas at Michelle & Kendall's house. Luckily for us, John had a business meeting in KC that following week so Addison and I got to play with cousins and aunts/uncles while we were there (but more on that later). That also gave us almost a full extra day to spend with Grandpa Bell & Grandma Marchelle. This was the first time since Addison's blessing in July that we were able to get all of the Bell siblings together. We celebrated with a family gift exchange, church, and a nice homemade Christmas dinner with all the fixin's. Addison also got in some great bonding time with Grandpa as well. She hadn't got to hang out with him since she was 1 month old, but it didn't take long for her to warm up to him.

This was our welcoming party upon our arrival into Kansas City early Sunday morning. Ashlyn is going to be elected President of the Addison fan club.

A picture of all the cute "Bell" side cousins. You would not believe how difficult it was to get this picture. Between meltdowns, distracting people, and little wandering feet, we just called this as good as it'd get. I don't blame them for being distracted though, we had probably 5 people with camera's in front of them calling names for smiles, looks, non-teary faces, and bribing everything under the sun just for them to hold still. Good thing we only attempt this once a year.

A picture of Addison, Ashlyn and Grandpa Bell in their Sunday best.