She is one

13th April 2013

Dear Emily,

A year ago you arrived. Our Emily. You were bigger, stronger and more beautiful than we ever could imagine. Those first hours were all at once terrifying and perfect. Our little family of three together at last.

A year on and you teach us so much with your ability to find fun and adventure in the most simple of things. You become more beautiful each day – your eyes sparkle and shine and your hair forms tiny wild curls at your neck. We adore your sweet little giggles, your enthusiastic claps and the way you sign ‘more’ for everything.

We love you our sweet girl. We can’t wait to keep learning with you and discovering the world through your eyes.

Happy Birthday,
Mummy & Daddy xxx

BEN_8773It’s true what they say: the days are long but the weeks and months are short. I remember the early days and wondering how on earth I was going to cope with doing the same thing every day and night (feed, burp, change, repeat) for what seemed like forever. But you find a rhythm, a normality and things change and evolve until you find yourself with not a tiny baby but a toddler. A toddler who knows when you’re trying to distract them, hide objects from them, about to put them on the ground or try to change them. A toddler who giggles when they’re about to do something they shouldn’t (go after Toby’s water bowl). A toddler who signs more enthusiastically even when you have no idea what they want more of. A toddler who gives the best hugs in the world.

BEN_8907

At one year old Emily can: say “hi” in context (mainly at Toby) and wave, she has also said “mummy”, “bye” and “wow”; walk confidently holding one hand; high-five; give cuddles to us and her cuddly toys; give kisses; sign “more” and “finished”; dance to music; touch her nose when asked “Where’s Emily’s nose?”, she also finds mummy’s and daddy’s noses; play with Toby a little (or does he play with her?); stack a few blocks.

BEN_8821

She loves: eating pear, banana, porridge and yoghurt; her new Elmo puppet book; reading (she brings books to me to read); swings; balloons; bubbles; walks in the stroller (she often falls asleep in there now which is huge progress from hating it a while ago).

BEN_8780

Monthly blanket photo

And here it is, her last monthly blanket photo. It’s not the best, she really has no interest in sitting still these days.

12 months:

IMG_7390 IMG_7392

11 months:

 

IMG_6679

 

10 months:

 

IMG_6018

 

9 months:

 

photo

 

8 months:

 

IMG_5222

 

7 months:

 

 

6 months:

 

 

5 months:

 

4 months:

 

 

3 months:

 

20120714-144215.jpg

 

2 months:

 

 

1 month:

 

 

10 days:

 

 

 



 

 

 

Posted in emily | 2 Comments

The countdown to ONE – 11 months old!

This last month has seen big jumps in Emily’s ability to explore her world.  She can get in to drawers and cupboards, can cruise from one thing to the next, can climb on to boxes and up steps, crawl under chairs and stools. And of course this all has potential for big trouble! She can also use her walker confidently, walk holding hands while kicking a ball along, she’s taken a few tentative steps holding one hand and has even started to crawl “properly” (but she still prefers to army crawl!). Oh and she has stood unaided for a few seconds.

IMG_6675IMG_6682
IMG_6663

IMG_6695

Some other cute developments include doing the actions to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, feeding herself  from a bowl with a spoon (porridge is her favourite thing to eat) and, this is not strictly an Emily development, Toby is getting closer to her and has even licked her nose a couple of times.

IMG_6526

I musn’t forget that she also cut her first teeth this month so she is my little gummy bear no more. Let’s not talk about the sleep issues related to that.

IMG_6379

She’s so much fun now. However she’s also still really struggling with separation anxiety and is very clingy to me. She did spend two days in childcare when we went skiing which I think she enjoyed and we’re joining a gym with childcare soon too so hopefully that’ll help a little.

IMG_6477

So now we countdown until the big first birthday. I’m so going to cry when we blow out her candle, sing happy birthday and watch her enjoy her first piece of cake.

Monthly blanket photo

11 months:

IMG_6679

10 months:

IMG_6018

9 months:

photo

8 months:

IMG_5222

7 months:

6 months:

5 months:

4 months:

3 months:

20120714-144215.jpg

2 months:

1 month:

10 days:

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in emily | Leave a comment

10 months old today

Well I don’t know how it happened but our little girl is now a whole 10 months old.

IMG_5856

In her tenth month of life we flew to England again. Oh England we do love you but it was so cold. And white! Both of us were also ill for several days of our visit. However, we had a lovely time catching up with everyone (and surprising certain grandparents). We managed the flight home just the two of us – something I was worried about – and even with a cold Emily charmed our fellow passengers and the flight crew.

IMG_5725

What else has happened in the last month? Well, Emily is playing very differently now. Instead of always putting things straight in her mouth she now very deliberately examines things, turning them over and seeing how they feel and sound.

IMG_5913

One of our favourite activities recently was playing with a tub of cooked spaghetti. Of course she ate some but she also did lots of swishing and swirling and flinging. Great fun!

She also loves her balls. She’ll stand up in the box full of them, pick one up, act as if she’s going to give it to me and then give me a cheeky look and throw it on the floor. She’s examining the effect of gravity I think, and having a great time doing it.

IMG_5783 IMG_0777

And finally, food. This girl has suddenly started eating loads. She tucks into her morning porridge (she can scoop it up on the spoon from the bowl and feed herself now); demolishes blackberries; loves her lunchtime bagel; and she thinks pasta is delicious, especially when cooked in stock.

It’s also been a difficult month in many ways. The nine-month separation anxiety that hits many babies hit us very hard. She didn’t want to be with anyone other than mummy for a lot of the time. She also didn’t want to sit on the floor. Or get her nappy changed. Or get dressed. Or put a bib on. Or sit in the car. Or in her stroller. However, and I whisper this as some days are still interesting, we seem to be getting through these challenging weeks and coming out the other side with a much happier baby.

IMG_6008

At 10 months Emily can: take a few steps with the aid of her new wooden walker (it only arrived yesterday); scoop up food with a spoon and feed herself; say “mum”; point; mimic people.

Emily loves: playing with anything that isn’t a toy (measuring cups, junk mail and magazines, tupperware); swings in the park; food food food; snuggling up with me to read books.

Monthly blanket photo

10 months:

IMG_6018
IMG_6017 IMG_6019

9 months:

photo

8 months:

IMG_5222

7 months:

6 months:

5 months:

4 months:

3 months:

20120714-144215.jpg

2 months:

1 month:

10 days:

 

Posted in emily | 1 Comment

The big nine months

Every day our baby is edging closer to becoming a little girl. The first invitations to birthday parties are trickling in as her slightly older friends turn one. Before long it’ll be our turn to plan how to celebrate her big day. Yes, our baby is growing up.

BEN_8203

IMG_5170

We enjoyed celebrating her first Christmas and New Year. And Hannukah – it was our first one too! Father Christmas delivered a wooden rocking horse and a stocking stuffed with a teddy, bib and booties.

It’s been a busy month, Emily also saw her first snow – and mummy and daddy went skiing/boarding in Tahoe.

IMG_5382

Emily can now: army crawl; pull up to standing from sitting; pick up tiny pieces of food with her thumb and forefinger; make a real orchestral range of noises from da to guh in volumes from shouts to whispers; walk holding our hands.

IMG_5283

Emily loves: blueberries – she can’t get enough of them; her ball pit (in a cardboard box); her new rocking horse – especially when daddy ties a rope to it and tows her around; Toby (of course); Daddy getting home from work.

Monthly blanket photo

9 months:

photo

8 months:

IMG_5222

7 months:

6 months:

5 months:

4 months:

3 months:

20120714-144215.jpg

2 months:

1 month:

10 days:

Posted in emily | 1 Comment

Emily is 8 months old

I feel like the last week or so has seen lots of cute changes and developments with Emily. She started playing peekaboo by herself whilst sitting in a cafe a couple of days ago (holding a muslin over her face and pulling it down waiting for me to say “peekaboo!”); she waved for the first time (one of those proper little baby waves opening and closing her chubby fist); she offers us her toys to chew on (never relinquishing her grip on them though); and she is on all fours and rocking. Crawling is getting close. I’m convinced the first time she crawls will be to try to get closer to Toby. She loves that dog. And today, literally moments ago, she started clapping.

IMG_5116

IMG_5033

Christmas is just around the corner and I’m ridiculously excited about my favourite time of the year: making decorations, cards, wrapping presents, buying the tree, charting the progress of the days with the advent calendar. And this year is going to be the best yet with our little lady to share it all with.

20121201175612_0001

IMG_5220

Emily can now: get on to all fours from sitting, and move back to sitting; play peekaboo by herself; wave; clap.

Emily loves: food food glorious food – there’s nothing she won’t try; Skyping; our Christmas lights; bouncing on my exercise ball in front of the mirror; getting messy; drumming.

IMG_5105

Monthly blanket photo

8 months:

IMG_5222

7 months:

6 months:

5 months:

4 months:

3 months:

20120714-144215.jpg

2 months:

1 month:

10 days:

Posted in emily | Leave a comment

What a difference a year makes

One year ago we landed in our new home-country. What a year it has been! We found a house, bought cars, furniture, passed our driving tests, made friends, had a baby, took our first flight with a baby, celebrated New Year, July 4th, Halloween & Thanksgiving, welcomed visitors and made a new home here in California.

If you’re one of our new friends reading this: thank you for helping make our first year here so memorable and for helping us settle in so well. Without you it would have been a very different year without as much fun, adventure and laughter.

To our family and friends in the UK: thank you for your unwavering support, the visits, letters, cards, parcels and of course Skype calls.

We can’t wait to see what new adventures year 2 has to offer us.

Lots of love, Christine, Ben & Emily (and Toby of course) xxxx

PS here’s the latest photo of Miss E looking super cute.

IMG_5094

Posted in life | 2 Comments

Our first Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday that we knew little about before moving here even though the tradition originated in England (apparently Guy Fawkes day was originally a Day of Thanksgiving). But I think it could become one of our favourites. Good food, giving thanks and connecting with family all sound like good reasons to celebrate to me. It also appears to be one of the least commercial holidays (provided you ignore the Black Friday madness; on Thanksgiving day we saw tents pitched outside Best Buy housing keen shoppers waiting for their bargains).

For our first Thanksgiving we decided to take advantage of the four-day weekend and embarked on a trip to the Napa Valley.

As many of you will know, I used to be a big wine drinker. Not so much now. One winery was all I could handle! We picked a lovely one though: a castle. We tried 10 wines in total and bought 6 bottles to bring home.

 

Emily was very content sitting in her new transportation device while we wandered around the winery. She loves pulling daddy’s hair and looking around the world with a new perspective.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at a Fish Restaurant – one plate of traditional turkey with all the trimmings (cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes & sprouts) and one of lobster. Emily tucked in to turkey, sprouts and lobster!

On the way home from Napa we stopped to capture one of our favourite views in the Bay Area, one that still prompts us to say in amazement: we really live here!

 

We definitely have a lot to give thanks for this year: our daughter, our adventures in California, our family and our friends (old and new). In just a couple of weeks we’ll celebrate one whole year here. Wow.

 

Posted in life, thanksgiving | 1 Comment