It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you! We’ve had a wonderful fall season and winter has been beautifully mild to us so far. It’s been a little chilly, a tiny bit rainy and perfect sweater/coat weather. I love it. I haven’t posted in a while, so I’ll share some pictures of fun things that have happened since October.

We celebrated Halloween. Lily was a puppy.

She LOVES her puppy stuffed animal, who happens to be named “Puppy.”

happy little cutie!

We walked the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge at twilight

Lily discovered a new love for stickers

We celebrated Brett’s 28th at the Museum of Natural History

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my Mom’s side of the family. So fun! Here I am with some cousins and their babies

sad Lily at the winter photoshoot

that’s better, Lily

kissy lips

We saw the giant Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Plaza. It was awesome!

And that brings us to the Christmas season. Truly, the most wonderful time of the year. People are happier, nicer and more aware of others. I’ve been offered more help with carrying the stroller up and down the subway stairs in the past week than I have the whole 4 months we’ve been here. Awesome.

We had our Christmas program this past Sunday at church. It uplifted me and really focused my thoughts on Christ. And Mary. What a woman she was! She loved her son as only a mother could.

With the tragic events in Connecticut this past week, I am reminded just how fragile life is. In one short moment, your life could be drastically changed. Now more than ever, I am aware of the blessing it is to have my daughter. So I hug Lily a little tighter, I kiss her a little more. I relish in the joy of her sweet baby laugh. I tell her I love her more often. I appreciate the opportunity to be her mother a little more everyday. She is changing every minute and I know she will never be the same tiny girl I see her as right now. I want to enjoy her today and everyday, especially since we don’t know what tomorrow holds. This much I do know, we will be a family forever thanks to Mary and her beloved son, Jesus Christ.

2 months

We’ve been in Brooklyn for 2 months now. A lot has happened since then. The apartment is finally getting into better shape, but we still have boxes lying around and major organization to get through. That being said, the apartment is good enough for visitors, so come visit!

We really love where we are in Carroll Gardens. The tree-lined streets and brownstones are so full of character. The brownstones are at least 100 years old. Think about what life was like 100 years ago! I love to think about that as I am walking down the streets living in the same place they did. Lily loves her life here. I let Lily walk instead of ride in her stroller to the park around the block from us today. She loves to go on walks and I love to see her so interested in everything around her. She is so proud of herself when she goes on these walks, she stops and says hi to anyone we pass and often blows kisses to them too. As we got closer to the park and she saw the big slide, she screamed with delight and started walking faster. She had a great time chasing pigeons, going down the slide and swinging. She has adapted so well to life here.

I have come up with a few routines that I do every week. For example, laundry. Before I moved here, doing laundry was just sorting the colors and throwing in the washer/dryer in my apartment. Here, I haul 2 Ikea bags of clothes, Lily and a diaper bag down 3 flights of stairs to where we keep our stroller, put Lily in, put the laundry bags on each handle, wear the diaper bag and walk 2 blocks to the laundromat where I load the clothes in the washer. Now I have 30 minutes of down time. Sometimes, I go to the bakery at the end of the block and get a treat for Lily and me, or walk another block further to Farmacy, a cute little 50′s themed ice cream parlor and soda fountain for a treat to share with Lily. If we do get a treat, we eat it outside so Lily can watch all the action going on out there. After the treat, we walk a couple more blocks to the grocery store and pick up a few things there. After that, it’s time to put the clothes in the dryer so we go back to the laundromat. Then, we go back home, climb the flights of stairs with Lily and the groceries and unload them. We have about 30 minutes at home before we go back out to pick up the clothes from the dryer. I do that 2-3 times a week. I go grocery shopping about 3-5 times a week too. If I went less frequently and bought more, I wouldn’t be able to carry it up the stairs. About twice a month, I go to Costco which requires getting a cab. I love these days. It’s so nice to ride in a car and have them take Lily and me somewhere quickly. Lily loves a taxi ride because she doesn’t have to sit in a car seat so she gets to stand up and look at everything.

We love having visitors. My mother and father-in-law, my parents and a friend have already come visited us. Next week, we get to have 2 more friends come stay with us. My mother and father-in-law are coming back for another visit in November. After that, there is vacancy in the Peterson hotel, so book a flight and enjoy the sights of NYC. We have 2 airbeds, a couch and a free early-morning wake-up call in the form of a sweet baby who would love to jump on you. haha.

Life here is so different than anything I have ever experienced. In some ways, more difficult. In many ways, more fun. But what shocked me the most is that life here with a baby is totally livable! The more challenging things just become a part of my life and then it doesn’t bother me anymore (like laundry).  It’s amazing what you can do when you have to do it.

Here are some fun pictures we’ve taken over the past 2 months.

Our street

Brett starting school

 

Lily is developing her climbing skills.

messy eater!

Lily pulled the Cheerios off the pantry shelf, opened the box, reached way down in the bag and pulled out a few handfuls. At least I know she won’t go hungry. ha!

having a tear after falling and bonking her head

so mischievous!

with Nana and Pop

posing cutely at Pier 6 park

Lily and me with a beautiful friend of mine and her beautiful baby

with Grandma and Grandpa outside of Farmacy

love this beautiful babe!

My Silly One-year-old Lily

In the past year, Lily has gone from a wee little 6 pound babe to a 21+ pound toddler. She went through colicky times, endured acid reflux, achieved milestones like holding her head up (we thought that was such a big deal! haha!), rolling over, smiling, laughing, giggling, pushing up to all 4s, sitting up, crawling, climbing, waving, standing, dancing, walking assisted by our hands and even took a few steps on her own!. Lily also learned how to “talk.” She started with a few squeaks and eventually learned a few words. She likes to say yeaaaah, hi, buh-bye, dis (for this), dat (for that), ahm (for food), Mama and Da-da. She also calls him Dah, Dee, Daddy and even once threw them together and said “hi Dah!” Dah’s little heart melted right then and there. Lily understands so much now. It’s so fun to say “where’s Daddy?” and watch her look for and find her Daddy.

Lily is a little mimic and likes to imitate the sounds we make. She also likes to be where the action is and see everything that’s going on. She loves to be with her Mommy and has a little separation anxiety when I leave the room. Lily loves to eat, but she is sometimes a picky eater. When I present a new food to her and she isn’t too sure about it, she will sometimes greet it with her lips pushed out. She likes to “share” her food with you and fully expects you to lean over and pretend to take a bite. When she is done eating, she’ll start pulling her hair, putting food in her hair, putting her food-covered fingers in her ears, or just start chucking it off the high chair. But Lily still loves her food and it doesn’t matter if she has just eaten a huge meal, as soon as she notices someone else is eating something, she will crawl over, saying “ahm!” and start begging for a taste.

Lily is a very social baby. She loves other people and other babies. She loves to try to get people’s attention on the subway. She’ll point at the person or say hi and wave until they look at her. Once they look at her, she’ll give them little shy smiles. At church last Sunday, she sat next to a little boy a few weeks younger than Lily and was laughing hysterically at the silly things he was doing.

Anyone who knows Lily knows she is not a quiet baby. Sometimes, she’ll just scream because she wants to scream. Just this morning, she was playing on the floor, then got up on her knees and started yelling. She wasn’t mad, or needing attention, she was just playing with the different sounds her voice can make. She makes the most hilarious sounds when she is talking and playing in her crib before she falls asleep. Brett and I just look at each other and laugh at how silly she is.

Lily loves to read her books! We read them everyday. Lily is also very snuggly, but usually not towards us. She’ll snuggle soft blankets, stuffed animals, even bath squirters but we’ve got to work for our snuggles. We have to try to steal them when she is too sleepy to push us away. Same goes with kisses. She gives Daddy more kisses than me, but she gives pictures in her books of babies or animals more kisses than Daddy. Lily loves stuffed animals and her favorite is a little puppy we got at Ikea for her birthday. As soon as she sees it, she smiles, laughs and lunges for it and then rolls around the floor snuggling it. She drags it around with her everywhere she goes. We were teaching Lily that a puppy says “woof, woof, woof” and now she says “woo-woo-woo” anytime she sees a dog on the street or a picture of a dog in a book. Actually, she’ll start pointing and saying “woo-woo-woo” to anything in a book that looks similar to a dog. She has labeled raccoons, baby cougars, coyotes, and cows as “woo-woo-woos.”  Sometimes we’ll ask her where puppy is and she’ll start looking for him, and then saying “woo-woo-woo” when she finds him. It’s so cute to see her starting to associate sounds with animals.

Here is a youtube video of Lily being snuggly (and tickly).

 

Lily started doing this funny new thing we call the twisty, where she will grab her belly and twist back and forth. The bottom half of her stays completely still. It’s so funny. Sometimes, she pats her belly and we think that is funny too. We’ve been singing “5 Little Monkeys Jumping On the Bed” to Lily and now she starts shaking her little pointer finger when we get to the “no more monkeys jumping on the bed” part. I love seeing that tiny, scolding finger.

Video of Lily doing 5 Little Monkeys.

For her birthday, we took her to the Brooklyn Zoo in Prospect Park. She had a fun time watching the Sea Lions (who were from California!) do some tricks for their food. After the zoo, Lily rode her first carousel. She looked so proud of herself sitting up on the horse and holding on to the pole. She did great during the ride and was as happy as could be. We also took her to the park close to our apartment to swing in the swings since it’s one of her favorite things to do. For dinner that night, Lily ate some delicious New York pizza and then she saw the cake. She knew it was for her. It was so cute to watch her enjoy her cake before getting straight in the bath. Lily is silly in her baths sometimes. Before we got the grippies to put in the tub, Lily was slipping and sliding from one end of the tub to the other. She was having the time of her life being slippy. I also love it when she lays on her belly, looks at one of her toys and kicks her legs in the water.

Like I mentioned earlier, Lily likes to dance! Here is a funny video of her dancing.

It was a lovely day for a lovely girl. It’s been one amazing year full of ups and downs and overwhelming love for my little baby. I’ve loved watching Lily grow this past year and I’m excited to see her learn more things as she grows older. I love you, Lily Belle!

My sweet little baby!

my sweet little girl!

Life in the Big Apple

We’ve been living in New York now for 2 weeks. It’s been a very fun and busy 2 weeks. We’ve unpacked a little and played a whole lot more. We’ve been to Manhattan twice (Brett three times), Lily had a birthday, we went to the Brooklyn Zoo, rode on a carousel, went to Ikea, grocery shopped almost daily, we’ve done lots of laundry, and unpacked a box here and there. Life in New York is very different than life anywhere else I have lived. Life in California was laid back, comfortable, and easy. Life here is more fast-paced but really fun. They are totally different. And totally lovable in their own ways.

Before I moved out here, I was nervous about having to walk everywhere for everything but that has surprisingly been one of my favorite things about living here. Lily LOVES to be outside. Seriously, as soon as I open the door she starts screaming excitedly and kicking her legs. So she loves to go out and run errands with me a few times a day. Things that are in walking distance (a mile or less) from our apartment include a few small grocery stores, Trader Joe’s (that’s at the edge of the one mile radius), the Subway, a few great parks, laundromats and tons of really delicious restaurants we’ve already taken advantage of. And that’s another thing I love about New York. Almost everything delivers!

I also love the people here. We live in a lovely, quiet (by New York standards) neighborhood with trees lining the streets and gardens in front of everyone’s Brownstone walk-ups. It’s like I’m living on Sesame Street. I love seeing all the beautiful trees and gardens. It’s so refreshing. People are so nice too! They will nod, say hi or greet you in some way as you pass them on the streets. They smile at Lily and she gives shy smiles back. We have a very nice old Italian neighbor who likes to sit on the steps of his Brownstone and talk with people as they pass by. He is very indicative of the kinds of people who live here: friendly and sweet.

Brett has been home with us these past 2 weeks and it has been SO great to have him here. Lily especially loves it as she calls for him and looks for him after every nap. It also makes getting around much easier when I have a helper. Subways are hard with babies and strollers. I haven’t found the best technique yet. Should I just pick up the whole stroller and carry it up the millions of stairs? Should I get Lily out and carry the empty stroller? Should I go backwards and inch the stroller up each stair? That wouldn’t be so bad, except that my stroller’s brakes lock the wheels as soon as I try to get up one stair and then it’s much harder to get up the stairs with wheels that are locked. So the Subway is still hard for me, but I’m open to suggestions!

Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment:

first carousel ride on her first birthday

storytime with Daddy

my little Brooklynite

having fun organizing the bathroom box

Little Mischievous Lily climbed on top of that bin to get the Teddy Grahams, opened them and then feasted on a few.

Summer at home

Since we left California on June 30th, Brett, Lily and I have had a great time with our families. We spent a week in Kansas before we came to St. Louis for 3 weeks. Then, we went back to Kansas for another 2 weeks. I think the Grandparents have loved having all this time with Lily. In Kansas, Lily got to play with some toys…

 

and celebrate her first 4th of July

In St. Louis, Lily got to spend time with Grandma,

play with Buddy,

go to the St. Louis Zoo,

watch the Sea Lion Show,

and try her first birthday cake (she is celebrating it three times before her actual birthday)

Back in Kansas, Lily got to have her second birthday cake at the family dinner the night before Kelly and Grant’s wedding. She shared the “birthday” with Grant and Ellie who also had birthdays in August.

The next day, Kelly and Grant were married. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever been to. I love these two so much and I am so happy we could be there for their special day.

The last week we were in Kansas, we went to a farm,

and to wonderscope, an indoor play area,

and to the aquarium, which was awesome, but too dark for any good pictures. Lily also loved playing with her sweet cousins. Here she is with Ellie:

Now, we’re on our way to New York City for our new life on the East coast! It was truly a lovely summer!

11 months old

Lily turns 11 months old today. I can’t believe she is so big already and that in just one short month, she will be one whole year old! She is such a good and happy baby. She has handled all the changes in her tiny life so well.

In the past month, Lily has learned lots of fun new things. She learned how to clap just a few days after she turned 10 months. I got a video of her doing it for the very first time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykxg-DcHYKs

Lily learned how to do “so big” by raising her hands up over her head. Sometimes, she does it while she is eating and gets tons of food in her hair. It’s so funny!

Lily also learned how to make 2 new faces.
I love it.
Lily loves to go for rides, especially in wagons or in someone’s arms.
Lily started standing up and balancing herself for a few seconds. It’s so cute to see such a short person standing there. She started cruising along the furniture and she even started trying to climb. She learned how to open the cabinet doors in the kitchen and likes to pull everything out before she is caught. One of Lily’s new favorite things to do is to go “walking” around with someone holding her hands. She looks so proud of herself. Lily also loves to play and try new things.
She will often tilt her head back and do a scream-laugh showing all 4 of her teeth.
Lily also added waving, saying “bye-bye” and dancing to her list of tricks. She loves to be silly and make us all laugh!

10 Months Old

Lily turned 10 months old on June 17th. I know, I’m 10 days behind on this post, but I still wanted to write about my little sweetie. I still can’t believe she is 10 months old. I feel like I just got used to saying she was 9 months old and now I have to say 10.

She has been learning so much so fast. In the past month, she has learned how to crawl even faster, climb up the stairs, pull up to stand on anything and loves to climb on top of things so she can be “tall.”

caught ya!

caught ya again! she pulled out 14 tissues in about 2 seconds

She also says momma and dah. It’s so cute! She calls Brett Dah, A-dah, and Dee and her face just lights up into a huge grin when she sees Brett. It’s sweet how much she loves her Daddy.

She also started pointing with her pointer finger and it’s really quite adorable. What a tiny finger! Lily laughs so much more now. She is really a happy baby. She squeals and screams and sometimes even giggles. It just makes us go overboard trying to make her laugh everyday. Since she turned 9 months old, we got the go-ahead to give her any food we are eating (except for honey until she is 1 yr old). And now, Lily loves to feed herself, even if that means taking food out of her mouth to look at it, squish it, and then put it back in. She is really good at picking up food with her fingers and putting it in her mouth. Lily also learned how to drink out of a straw.

look at all the peas in her mouth!

She has 3 teeth that have broken through the gums and one more that will bust through any day now. She has the bottom two and now one on top. It’s right next to the top, middle ones that haven’t come through yet. She likes to stick out her tongue to feel them.

 

Lily learned how to stand up in her crib, which set her back on sleeping. She was too excited in her crib to sleep! I had to re-sleep train her so she would take naps again.

Her hair is getting longer and thicker. It’s starting to have some curl to it in the back. I love it so much.

Lily loves to read books. She has gotten really good at turning the pages. She holds her thumbs on the edge of the book and pulls it apart to open the pages. If I’m reading to her, she gets her little hand on the next page and turns it really quickly. She is also good at flipping the corner pages like she’s looking at a flip book. Lily weighs 20 pounds and fits into 12 month clothes perfectly. I started buying her 12-18 month clothes now. She is already starting to slim down from all the crawling and pulling up to standing that she is doing.

Since we’ve been packing for our big move, I sometimes needed a place to put Lily for just a few minutes while I threw something in a box or taped it up. Luckily, we had a huge bin that we called her “play bin.” She was cute and happy in there.

We visited my sister-in-law who has an adorable kitchen set for her kids to play in. I couldn’t resist posing Lily for a few shots.

My baby is growing up! I’m starting to tell myself that I can’t call her baby much longer because she is almost not a baby anymore! She’ll be one whole year in just 2 months! How did that happen? When she was a tiny baby, every day seemed so long and she seemed to stay tiny for a long time. Now, it seems like time is flying and she is growing up so quickly. I still like to go to check on her every time she is sleeping just so I can see her sweet baby face. I love that little girl!

New York, New York

Start spreading the news
I’m leaving today
I want to be a part of it, New York, New York
These vagabond shoes
Are longing to stray
And make a brand new start of it
New York, New York
I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps
To find I’m king of the hill, top of the heap
These little town blues
Are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there
I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York, New York.

I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps
To find I’m king of the hill, top of the heap
These little town blues
Are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there
I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York, New York.

-Frank Sinatra, New York, New York

It’s happening! We’re moving to New York City this summer! We leave on June 30th. We’re flying home to the Midwest to spend the summer with family and then we’re heading out to NYC in August. Brett has been accepted to NYU for their Interactive Telecommunications Program. In two years, I’ll be married to a man who has a Master’s! I’m so proud of him for getting into his top choice in schools and for even receiving a scholarship. We’re excited to be making the move across the country.

That being said, I am also nervous to be making the move across the country. We’ve lived in California for the last 4 years and we really feel like it is our home. We love it here. We love our family here. We love our friends here. We love the ward here. We love the weather here. And then I thought about what my life will be like in New York where the apartments are known to be tiny, there is not good weather, you have to walk everywhere and can’t buy more than one or two bags of groceries at the store and then haul it all home. Oh yeah, with a baby too. So I’m nervous to be making such a huge change in my life. But, as the packing continues, it’s really hitting me that we’re leaving. And the more I realize that, the more I realize the amazing opportunity given to us. We get to live in New York City! Despite all the things I’m nervous about, it will be an adventure. And once I adjust to the new life, I’m sure we will love it. So many people live in New York City with babies so why can’t I? And think of all the wonderful things about New York. There are so many “tourist” things to see like the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, the Rockefeller Center, Ground Zero, broadway shows, Chinatown, Little Italy, subway rides, beautiful skyline, awesome food, great shopping, sports games, museums, etc. There is more than enough to keep us busy while we’re there. Soon, we’ll be calling the city that never sleeps our new home!

http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/time-zone/usa/new-york/new-york-city/images/new-york-city.jpg

New York City, here we come!

Sister, Sister

My lovely sister came to visit me for a whole week! We had the best time working and playing together. Carmen helped me with Lily and I felt an almost forgotten feeling again: productivity! We got so much done each day! I was amazed at the progress we made in just one week.

Lily helping us pack (we're moving to NYC!)

going for a walk!

We even went swimming!

sleepy Lily after nap one day

We also went to Sol Food, a Puerto Rican restaurant in San Rafael. It is amazing and highly recommended!

at Sol Food

delicious!

 

We drove through San Francisco on the way home.

oh my heart will miss this place!

I took Carmen out one night for “sister’s night” and we had a blast shopping and eating at Cheesecake Factory. Can’t wait for my next sister’s night!

looking cute for sister's night!

 

Is it any wonder we are sisters?

Love you, Carmen! Miss you so much!

Pajaro Dunes

Memorial Day Weekend, we went to Pajaro Dunes, one of our favorite places to go. We met Grandma and Grandpa Rosenlof there, along with the Giles. We stayed in a super nice condo on the beach.

We had the traditional spaghetti dinner that night. Lily loved it.

The next day, we went down to the beach. Lily couldn’t have been happier! She tried to eat half the beach.

 

 

We went to church the next day. Grandma read Lily a book before we left.

After church, it was back to the beach!

It was a gorgeous day!

We had the best time! Thank you G&GR for hosting!