Precious: Monthly Portrait 12


Ali-gator, holy cow, you’re one! We celebrated your first birthday in Emerald Isle, NC with your grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins on my side of the family. It was a small but special party at a beach house with party hats, noise makers and balloons for all. You devoured a chocolate cupcake with strawberry frosting. (More posts about all of that coming soon.)

This past month has brought an explosion of language. You’re repeating words and sounds all the time. We’re still surprised when we ask you if you want another a drink of water and you say “yeah” or if we over you a bite of calzone and you say “tank you” all on your own. You’re obviously understanding so much now and learning new things everyday. You’re really getting into music. Any time you hear a beat, you start bopping. You’ll sing back to Daddy when he sings you tunes or try to sing along with the song. When you do something good, we often clap and say “yay!” so now you do the same for us. Yesterday when I changed your diaper you clapped your hands and said, “yay!” Good diaper changing job, Mommy! You are still super friendly when we’re out and about which means you draw people like a magnet with your smile and “hi!” Keep it up and you’ll have no trouble making friends.

You’re still an excellent eater and sleeper. Your sixth tooth came through the week before your birthday. You’ll try anything we offer you, but won’t open your mouth all the way anymore until you’ve had a taste. Some foods like scrambled eggs or green peppers sometimes get spit out. We’re quite impressed that you love strong flavors and unusual textures like artichokes, olives, dill pickles, pancakes with syrup, pepperoni, and fried okra (a new favorite from vacation). Peaches might be your current favorite food. You can polish off most of one all yourself in one sitting. For the most part, you eat whatever we’re eating, which is really convenient. You sleep a lot—8pm to 9am most nights and 2-3 hours worth of naps during the day. You went through a period of resisting sleep time by crying but we pretty much ignored you (sorry!) and now you’re back to happily going to sleep, snuggling up with Little Lucy before you fall asleep.

You’re walking with assistance and crawling like a pro—you’re quick! With that has come with some new needs for discipline and we’ve had to start saying “No!” and redirecting you a lot more lately. However, you’re getting it! You often respond to, “Do not touch the tv!” or “Do not play in Lucy’s water bowl!” on the first time now, without us having to physically move you away. You are a very bright girl. Often before you do something prohibited you’ll look at us to see if we’re watching you and we can tell you’re making sense of it all, thinking, and learning to enact some self-control. It will get easy as you mature, dear daughter.

Getting these monthly pictures had gotten more difficult each month as you’ve become more active—so I’m officially done. 10 monthly portraits from 3 months old – 12 months old. That’s the best I could do. It’s so fun to watch you grow!

Precious: Monthly Portrait 11


My dear daughter, at 11 months old you are quite obviously transitioning into toddlerhood. You haven’t impressed us with too many new words this month, instead you’re all about new motor skills. You’re officially a crawler now, which means we’re all getting more exercise chasing you into the next room before you discover something we haven’t childproofed yet. Lucy is also getting more exercise. Our lazy old cocker spaniel has been keeping her distance from you for the past 9 months and now she has to keep jumping up to move away, narrowly escaping your grasp. I don’t think any of us is sure what you’ll do once you do catch up with her. From your back, you flip over so quickly and start crawling that it was almost impossible to get your photo this month! You were pulling up to a stand before you learned to crawl so now it’s a very smooth process: crawl across the room to the cabinet/door/table/chair/dogfoodbag/etc. and pull yourself into standing position. That also means you’re spending a lot of time standing up in your crib. I’m not sure what you hope to accomplish by this. Usually we let you get tired (or bored) for a while then go back and lay you back down and remind you it’s time for sleeping. That’s working so far. You’re cruising a bit also, moving with more and more fluidity from the coffee table to the play table to the person who is spotting you.

Even more amusing than all the mobility are your new dance moves. It started with clapping. At first you would clap the back of your left hand with your right but within a week you mastered the palm-to-palm clap. You also love to move your head side-to-side to the music—any music. Daddy introduced you to beat boxing recently in an attempt to show off your dance moves. Not only did it work, you love it! You’re even doing your own version of a beatbox. A couple days ago you were having your own dance party in your car seat, going “tah tah tah” and swinging your head around like Ray Charles, occasionally throwing in a few claps or a “yeah!” You’re adorable and such a good time! Thank you for entertaining us everyday, making us smile and laugh.

Your hugs and kisses are arguably the greatest reward to being your mom. You’ve added a back pat to your hug, which is the sweetest thing. You were upset over some teething pain the other night and as I hugged and rocked you, you started patting my back as if to say, “You’re doing a good job, Mom. You’ll get through this.” I should note that you now have 5 teeth through. That one on the top (left of center) was a doozy—the first tooth that’s caused you obvious pain. The 6th has been stubbornly working it’s way to the surface but it’s still not through.

I’m breaking the white onesie protocol this month and photographing you in your bathing suit because we’ve been going in Grandma and Grandpa’s pool as much as possible. Despite the hard time I’m getting from Daddy and Grandma, I’m determined to teach you to float on your back this summer. After months of trying to teach you to hold your breath to no avail, I realized I could more easily teach you to blow bubbles. You’re getting it! I’m not trying to push swimming on you because I love it; it’s for your safety. But I do hope you’ll be my pool buddy for many years to come. Happy 11 Months, Ali-gator!   

Precious: Monthly Portrait 10


Precious daughter, you are 10 months old. It’s getting harder to remember how small you used to be. You look so different now that you have a beautiful head full of black curls. This month has brought an explosion of new tricks. You’re now rolling both directions and slithering/pulling yourself along the floor which means you’re all over the place. Looks like crawling is going to happen any day now. You eagerly pull yourself up to a stand if I offer you my hands. I haven’t seen you attempt to pull up on a table or chair yet but I’m sure it’ll be soon. You can stand on your own, holding onto something, for several minutes before you fall now. As I suspected, now that you’re moving around a lot you are starting to even out and get more slender and muscular. The 18 month pants that fit snuggly around your waist last month are now a little loose. You have an arsenal of silly expressions, ready to pulverize anyone’s bad attitude. Your favorite seems to be Oh!/Whoa! with big eyes and O-mouth. You do this when you notice a new thing—The ceiling fan? Oh!—or meet new people—Hi, Baby. Whoa! You’re so funny. Sometimes you play peekaboo with your arms. Our favorite new trick is your baby wave. Sometimes you mimic our sing-song “Hi-eye” and other times you say “Diya diya diya diya” (for bye-bye) as you wave, because you haven’t mastered “b” yet. It’s super cute when you put it together and it sounds like “Hi Dada.” Strangers love the waves and Oh! face—please don’t stop making people’s day; you have the gift of contagious joy. You are still a great sleeper and eater and so easy to take out. You’ve just cut your fourth tooth—two on the bottom and two on the top now. You’re still loving peas, carrots, green beans, cheerios, apple sauce, peaches, pears…pretty much anything we offer you will eat. You even had some black olives, artichokes and mushrooms off my veggie pizza the other day! You are a very special girl and a delight to your dad and me. Now that you’re standing up a lot, I’ve started putting shoes on you more often. These are one of the 3 pairs that stay on your feet. (Mad scientist hair courtesy of the pool.) It’s exciting to watch you grow and change and learn right before our eyes.

Update for my own records: At your 9-month checkup (at 10 months + 1 day old) you weighed 19.1 lbs (50%) and measured 29″ tall (75%). You really have stretched out!

Precious: Monthly Portrait 9


To be perfectly honest, I was late taking this 9 month picture mainly because I couldn’t decide on an accessory. Then it hit me. WIth her hair growing an inch longer everyday (it seems), this cute hair clippy made by my friend Renata for her daughter’s first birthday party, is perfect.

Sweet girl, at 9 months old you are looking less like a baby and more like a toddler all the time. Your body is growing and getting more active. You tolerate time on your tummy much better now, and land yourself in that position often when you’re reaching for a toy that’s just beyond an arms length. From there you’ve started spinning yourself around on the floor, rotating on your belly like a merry-go-round. Sometimes you shove yourself backwards and end up under a chair or footstool and you dust the underside of it with your pant legs. In other news, you’ve been getting good at grasping and eating finger foods like peas and cheerios. You’ll try any foods we offer you. Lately you’ve been relentlessly fascinated with necklaces. Honestly, it’s driving me crazy. You broke one by accident recently and I’ve stopped wearing them for the most part because, girl, I needed a break from continuously redirecting you. You are sweet and curious and how can I blame you for being attracted to pretty bling? You’re a lady. The other big news around here is about teeth. Your third tooth broke through 2 days after your 9-month birthday. It’s not very visible yet but with the way you’ve been grinding your bottom two teeth against it, I imagine both of your top front two teeth will be visible very soon. Which means you get to enjoy eating even more yummy foods, like steak and corn on the cob! The past month included a visit from your Aunt Char, Uncle Steve and cousin Aiden from Pennsyvania and quick weekend trip up to Cincinnati to visit our friends. You are a great traveler, still happy and easy-going almost all the time. We spent 3 days together last week, just the two of us, while everyone else was traveling. I’m glad I have you to hang out with, otherwise I’d be talking to Lucy all day. I tell you about the plan for the day, my to do list and about the breakfast I’m cooking. You chatter back to me, most of it unrecognizable words, with the occasional dada, mama, hi, yeah, hungee thrown in. You’ve also started saying uh huh and uh uh (yes/no) and shaking your head, in context. I love that you’re communicating more and more all the time. “Hungee” has been the  most helpful word, which means you want a bottle, not that you’re just hungry because sometimes you say it while we’re feeding you other food. Oh, and another new form of communication that we just love—kissing! Sometimes you purse your lips and gently lean in for a kiss, especially if we give you the “mmmm” warning that a kiss is coming. Sometimes you put your hands on our cheeks and pull in for a smacker. You did that the first time to Daddy while he was changing your diaper and it was the sweetest thing ever. Other times you vigorously grab hair/ears/earrings/glasses and smother our faces with giant, open mouth, slobbery kisses. Where did you learn that?! Girl, you need to stop! Stick to the sweet, not-quite-puckered, mostly dry kisses. Clearly, I am smitten with you. Each day is full of joy because of your irresistible smile and charm. We are so thankful you came into our lives 7 months ago.

Precious: Monthly Portrait 8


Our little Ali-gator is 8 months old. Precious girl, you are getting bigger every day but most noteworthy is your hair—you seem to have had a hair growth spurt! We love playing with the fluffy wad of thick black curls on top of your head, and so do you. The hair on the sides is even getting long enough to curl up when it’s wet, typically from drool when you’re sleeping on your belly. I don’t think you prefer to be a belly sleeper but you’re still only able to roll in one direction. We put you on your back and you immediately roll on to your belly and then fuss until you fall asleep, someone rolls you back or sits you up. I’m sure you’re going to learn to crawl very soon with all the unwanted tummy time you’ve been inflicting on yourself these days. You have been trying all kinds of new foods at the dinner table, including meat, eggs and gasp—brownies. (I know…we’re horrible parents…) Your favorites seem to be fruit, carrots, and sweet potatoes—but only if they’re thin enough. Too chunky and you gag. You’ve also been learning to drink water out of a sippy cup and we can tell you’re excited about your independence, though the mechanics can be frustrating with your 8-month-old coordination. You met your baby cousin Eli this month. He’s exactly 6 months younger than you. Cousin Iris was also visiting for Grandpa’s 60th birthday along with Aunt Jessica, Uncle Jeff, Aunt Laura and Uncle Aaron. You love hanging out with other babies and Grandma L and Grandpa loved having all three of their grand kids together. The weather is getting warm and the flowers are blossoming everywhere. You’ve added a few new words to your vocabulary: dada/dad/daddy, mama (finally!), uh huh, hi/hey/ha, hun-gee (hungry). You’re also starting to randomly repeat words. A few days ago as I was buckling your car seat I said “click,” and then you said, “click.” I’d think I was imagining it but Daddy heard it too. We’ve been taking lots of walks and trips to the park to go on the swings. We love putting you in summer dresses, onesies or shorts so we can squeeze your chubby thighs and nibble on your delicious baby toes. Speaking of delicious, we couldn’t resist introducing you to Jeni’s Ice Cream shop right down the street. Can you believe babies aren’t supposed to have ice cream? We tried to tell you, but you’re very determined to sneak a taste with your extra long tongue. How could we resist your cuteness, anyway? We may have difficulty not giving you whatever you want. Love you, baby girl!

Precious: Monthly Portrait 7


Ali-gator. That’s your new nickname from our first vacation to Florida (and a hint at your real name). In your seventh month you flew on an airplane for the first time when we went on a fun mother-daughter adventure to Tampa and Sarasota to meet up with Daddy for a few days. You are a great traveler and such a joy to be around. You were called a happy machine because of how you affect everyone. Your first time at the beach was a disaster when you face planted into the sand. Sorry baby! But the swimming pool—another first—was refreshing. I am really excited about swimming with you this summer. You have been trying new foods all the time. I’m thrilled that you will eat just about anything and seem to especially love broccoli and bananas. Speaking of eating, your first two teeth came in within a few days of each other at 6.5 months old. You’ve been dealing really well with the discomfort and gnawing on everything, especially your hands or our thumbs if we’re not careful! Sometimes in the morning or after a nap I hear you babbling or cooing in your crib. When I go in to check on you, I see you’re playing with Little Lucy, the stuffed cocker spaniel Daddy and I bought a year before you were born—a special gift for our first baby because it looks just like our dog, Lucy. I used to hold Little Lucy and pray for you—before I even knew anything about you. It makes my heart happy to see you enjoying it. This month we moved out of our home and in with Grandma L and Grandpa. We’ll be here for a few months while our new home is built down the street. It’s exciting to think that our new home will be the one you grow up in and probably the only home you’ll remember from your early life. You get to see a lot of Grandma L and Grandpa now, and Grandma K has been babysitting you more lately, too. I’m so thankful that you get to grow up with your grandparents nearby. Also noteworthy, Daddy’s first solo album came out this month. It’s called Acoustic Lullabies and it’s dedicated to you!

You are a month behind on your check-up and vaccination appointments so you just had your 6-month well baby visit on your 7-month birthday. You are 26.5 inches long and weigh 18.25 pounds—our beautiful, healthy little girl!

Precious: Monthly Portrait 6


Little girl, it’s hard to believe you are already half a year old! Happy 6 Months, Choongie. You still seem like a tiny baby until I look back at your pictures from September when you joined our family. You’ve changed so much. And my arms and back can verify that you’re getting heavier. In fact, you’ve already grown out of most of your 6-month size clothes—especially the pants and sleepers. Shortly after Christmas (and your 5 month birthday) you started sitting up on your own. Now your balance has improved so much that you’ve started rolling from your back to belly and back more frequently. The same week you started saying Dada for real. We’re not sure if you know what it means yet, but you get a positive response when you say it, especially from your Daddy. When he kisses your cheeks you still get a speckled red rash from his prickly face and everyone can tell he’s been kissing on you. Now that you’re 6 months old, we have the go-ahead from your doctor to start you on solid foods. We’ve shelved the bland rice cereal and moved on to avocado and carrots. There are sweet potatoes and bananas waiting in the wings. It’s fun to watch your reaction to new tastes. You’re still sleeping like a champ through the night, even though teething pain wakes you up from time to time. You’re great at putting yourself back to sleep sucking your thumb. You’ve been napping less, sometimes just two naps a day now for an hour or two a piece. It’s getting harder to get anything done when you’re awake because you’re so much fun to play with!

Precious: Monthly Portrait 5


Precious is 5 months old! On one hand, it’s hard to believe she’s been with for 3 months already, and the other hand, it feels like she’s been with us forever. We love our little daughter. She brings us so much joy. She is almost always happy. Choongie has become her nickname to Jason and me, because of the sound she used to make when she sneezed. (She doesn’t anymore. Boo.) She is not too interested in getting around yet. She still hasn’t figured out how to roll but she’s thisclose to getting from her back to her belly. Precious is talking up a storm, though. We love to hear her babbling and squealing. She often sounds like she’s saying “hi” and “hey,” which would make sense since we say, “Hi Baby!” to her every morning when we greet our smiling girl in her crib. And when she’s crying, it sounds like she’s saying “Dada!” and “Daddy!” Jason is the best at soothing her when she’s got gas pain so maybe she knows what she’s doing calling for him.. She’s grabbing toys, especially the crinkly ones, and she enjoys looking at her reflection in the mirror. Her new tricks this week are reaching out for our faces and grabbing on to our arms/necks when we pick her up. So sweet. Precious is a jolly girl and she makes our lives much richer.

Here are some runner-up pictures. It was hard for me to decide.

Precious: Monthly Portraits 3 & 4


I’ve seen a lot of clever ideas for documenting children’s growth through monthly portraits. I missed out on the first two months of Precious’ life but I’m very thankful we were able to become her parents at just two months and one day old. She’s already been with us more of her life than she’s been without us. I started taking monthly photos on her 3-month birthday. The plan is to always use this quilt that her Great Aunt Linda made as a backdrop and add just one (or two) accessories to a plain white onesie.

I’m really loving this age. At four months she’s sleeping 12 uninterrupted hours at night. Praise the Lord! She’s eating 5-6 ounces of formula 5x a day. Precious is starting to work on rolling. My mom reports that she rolled from her stomach to her back once but we haven’t seen it happen since. She’s working hard on going from back to belly, swinging her legs until she flops onto her side. Precious has just in the last week started laughing—only for her daddy so far—and grabbing toys and putting them in her mouth. She hasn’t taken a pacifier since the thrush bout over a month ago and has become a thumb-sucking expert. She can quickly sooth herself when she’s sleepy or upset but doesn’t over use it. Precious is still just as happy and easy-going as ever. She’s a wonderful little girl.