Friday, December 21, 2007

A Christmas Post

'Tis the night before Christmas vacation. Bim came home from work and we did a little happy dance while Ally looked on from her high chair. Her face is very expressive and when we're acting strangely I see a spectrum of emotions pass over her, as if she's not sure whether to be delighted or afraid. Just to be safe, she laughs and then cries a little.
I know the feeling. Lately I've been staying up a bit too late. I get all wound up with holiday excitement and (admit it) tension after long days of running around "getting stuff done." At night I just have to sit for a while. Wednesday night I was doing my sitting in front of the TV wishing for a nice holiday movie, preferably something in black and white. No luck. Instead, what I got was "The Real Housewives of Orange County." Have you seen this show? If you had, would you admit it? Trust me, it will really bum you out.After about 30 seconds I knew it wasn't going to make me happy. After about 5 minutes, I was sick at heart. Why take it so seriously? I guess because these unwitting scapegoats of our consumer culture represented more to me than self-indulgent ciphers looking for 10 minutes of fame (apparently oblivious to the fact that the rest of the world is laughing at them). They reminded me in a very ugly way of myself, minus the makeup. I've never wanted to become so attached to material things that I rely on them for happiness. But I have to confess: when I am feeling low or inconvenienced by the necessarily tedious parts of my life, my first thought is usually, 'what can I buy to fix this feeling?' Then I buy something my grandmother or mother would never have wasted money on. Then I regret it. And then...like a dog to its vomit...I do it again.
So maybe my materialism is small-time. But maybe it's not. I could go on...(I haven't even mentioned the third world, or the poor in our own country) but tonight I am going to just say NO! No more stuff!

Okay, let's be practical.

Christmas may be commercialized beyond recognition in the department stores, but as a worthy holiday, I celebrate it. For me, Christmas provides a much-needed platform for reconsidering what is important. I had a wake-up call this week and I think the feeling in my stomach is going to stick with me at least through the first months of 2008.
And so, with these small thoughts, good night friends and family. If you are reading this, Merry Christmas. Thank you for all the holiday cards, emails, phone calls and good thoughts. Those acts are everything. I love you.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Happy Birthday, Elyza Jo!




Ally's cousin 'Lyza Halverson turned 1 year old on December 11! Happy Birthday, pretty girl! We love you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Songbird

We miss Grandpa!!! He left on the jet plane today and we cried all the way home. Ally will have to console herself by watching videos of our fun time together. Here she is dancing (and singing) along with Pink Martini.

video

Monday, December 10, 2007

Merry Christmas Baby

I can't decide which dress to use for Ally's Christmas picture. Any votes?



Friday, December 7, 2007

The Year of Living Dangerously

Baby girl is one year old! We celebrated at a park in Sunny Isles on Miami Beach with some of Ally's little friends: Samuel, Nixon, Jane, Bailey, Trae and Telsey, to name a few. We swung on the swings, slid on the slide and smashed some cake. Ally got her first baby doll and two fun bouncy balls.

I have said this before, but I really mean it this time: this is my favorite age yet. Allyn has always been "alert," to quote every stranger who ever stopped to admire her, but she is increasingly interactive and gets better at communicating every day.

Ally was happy to be left with her cake until she started rubbing it in her eyes. That made her sad, but not enough to stop eating.

Some special party guests:

Santa Jane

Bailey

Some of my favorite things that Ally does at age 1:
  • Says "mmm" as she gives her "babies" kisses and love pats
  • Holds her fists tighly to her chest while she walks
  • Shakes her head, "No" when she means Yes
  • Follows grandpa Tom around the apartment
  • Takes food out of her mouth with her finger to make room for another bite
  • Chimes in with a fake laugh after someone else laughs
  • Reads books to herself and chatters constantly

Some of Ally's words at age 1:

Dut (duck)
Baby
Uh oh
Mama/Dada
Boppa (Grandpa)
Up
Socks
Ayee (Ally)
EYE! (shouted, while poking said appendage)
"A-pane" (while pointing to the sky)
Yay! (while clapping)
Oh Wow! (as one word)
Whee! (while turning circles on her bottom)
Pap (diaper)
Ba (bath)
Hi!
Bye-bye

A few other milestones from this first year: Ally rolled over on Easter, at four months old; got her first teeth at 5 months; crawled at 6 months; and walked on her first birthday, with lots of encouragement from Bim.

I never thought my baby would be one and now that she is, I still can't completely believe it. In some ways I feel like I have always known and loved her. A strange contradiction of feelings, I guess, but parenthood seems to be full of those. One thing I know for sure:
Ally = Fun. Let's have another year like this one.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Stepping Out

video

Here she goes!

Ally Walks

Bim worked with Ally all weekend to prepare her for her first steps. On her birthday the effort paid off. My baby is a toddler.