Thursday, January 31, 2008

Party Pictures

As promised... and after much trouble and cursing my camera... without further adieu, here are my pictures.
The birthday girl

My igloo ice cream cake of doom (in more ways than one).

Anastasia and her mini-igloo cake

The proud parents and my penguin party hats.

Her first snow (a couple weeks ago).

Monday, January 28, 2008

One Year and 2 Days old...

Anastasia finally hit the one year mark on Saturday. We had a great "polar party" complete with an igloo ice cream cake and penguin hats. We had family and friends over for a little get together (minus the traditional Rivers redneck bonfire). I will post some pictures later as I am currently waiting on some vegetables to turn into broth.

Its amazing to think of all of the milestones babies complete in their first year of life. From her first smile at 2 months, to her first steps at 10 1/2 months Anastasia has kept us on our toes in the adventure of our lifetime. She has a firey personality to match her name, which means "the ressurection". Her favorite things are her stuffed husky, her real husky, her books, and snuggling with mom and dad. Not to forget baby Einstein CDs and classical music.

In one year Anastasia has been camping a couple times, been to the beach a couple times, to Georgia, North Carolina, Chicago, Pennsylvania and all of the states in between. She enjoyed several trips to waterparks, hiking, and zoos. She has been all over it seems and it thrilled with all the new experiences and people. We couldn't be more thrilled with our fearless little adventurer. Currently she is talking on my cell phone upside-down (which is also her favorite way to read books.) She enjoys helping me with chores as well as creating more chores for me to do.

She is nothing I could have ever expected... when I was expecting.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wistful Thinking

I just started a list of wists. I am doing my very first "Craft Swap" over at Craftster. For those of you who are lost, it is basically where you swap crafts or other goods according to a specific theme (slippers, stuffies, pillows, etc.). The swap I joined is the Beautiful Use Swap where you swap three useful items (one that is hand crafted) that are aesthetically beautiful to the beholder. It basically runs the course of February and I am totally excited for the challenge. My alternative title for this post was "Its Craftastic" which would be my hypothetical craft shop's name or punch-line. :)

On the subject of beautiful uses, I have been reading the book Montessori from the Start, about the Montessori Method of raising/teaching children. The book has been ultra informative and while very extreme in certain cases, I think the method in theory will be very beneficial to Anastasia, my strong-willed child. My only qualm's thus far with the book, is that while it focuses on teaching a newborn baby to concentrate on tasks for long periods of time, I feel that it doesn't stress the importance of nurturing the child as in the attachment method of parenting. Maybe it is just this book in particular but I feel that a child needs a good parental attachement in order to focus and be independant. I like the whole idea of "Freedom with Responsability" and wish I had a safer environment other than my parents house to raise my daughter. But that will come in time (Lord willing). I find that people in general would rather tell Anastasia "no" not to go somewhere or touch something rather than make sure something is out of her reach that is unsafe or that they don't want destroyed. This is life for now. Atleast if I screw Anastasia up, hopefully I will have better luck with future children. ;)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Loved Dog

When we found Leia at the PW County animal shelter she had "growls at children" in her criminal record. Perhaps this would have scared anyone adopting a 50 lb animal but Nick knew she was the dog for us when he went to get her. He could not have been any more right.

We had been looking and praying for a dog for months before we found her online. She looked like a huge puff ball with long matted fur! She had been a stray and we believe she came from an abusive situation. Aparently she had been adopted by a family with young children and "growled at them". When bringing home a new pet, it is so important to give them space, especially with children involved. We found out in the first few weeks that Leia growled for everything... when getting her tummy rubbed, when playing, when meeting children, etc. It is her way of communicating. We also learned within a few months that we had adopted a very very sick dog. She had Cryptococcus, a fungus that attacks the brain. When I found a collapsed, unresponive dog, I was sure she was going to die. Thanks to a wonderful Doggy neurologist (Dr. Tiches), Leia is still our beloved house pet and friend.

"There is a reason your dog is alive. Maybe she will save your child's life or something--you never know."

Husky's are known for their amazing sensitivities, so I am assured that Leia knew what was going on the whole time I was pregnant. Perhaps before I even knew! All I know is that when we brought home our noisey little bundle, Leia stayed right beside her for the first day. She slept right beside her cradle and when I went to change her diaper, Leia was right there! It was the sweetest thing... that just recently got sweeter. Now that A. doesn't yank her fur out, Leia enjoys Anastasia's constant attention. A. has been ultra snuggly now that she isn't nursing and finds Leia the ultimate snuggling companion. It is truley the most beautiful thing and it makes me smile and cry at the same moment as Anastasia buries her little head in Leia's fur with her arms in a big hug. Leia doesn't mind at all and even seems to put herself in the situation of being cuddled. A. giggles when Leia licks her face in return.

Sometimes Leia gives credit to Radar's quote from M*A*S*H, "Animals are people too." Perhaps they aren't people... but they are definately souls of a sort who God sends us for a purpose. In the words of a veterinarian (Dr. Augustine) at AAH, "There is a reason your dog is alive. Maybe she will save your child's life or something--you never know."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I drove my brother to National Airport yesterday and found that the slower pace of Virginia did not effect my ability to maneuver DC Streets with the skill an agility of a native. I wonder how I would do in NYC? I think people are a bit nicer there (it was voted the nicest city last year) and have more skill than DC drivers (who are rude and don't know how to drive) but I think they also expect everyone to be somewhat aggressive. I can be when I need be like in order to get over a lane when no one wants to let me over. The best part of driving in DC is making your own rules when the rules suck. I blew a no U-Turn sign because of a restroom emergency. I also found my way around really well. Despite all my skill and effort... a taxi cab pulling out of a spot didn't see me and ALMOST slammed into the side of my mom's 4-Runner. I honked. Had I not my mom would have been hit! I hate stupid other drivers.

On a lighter note, my brother is in Colorado for a week. I am so jealous. What did he do all day today? He snowboarded in powder-like snow that feels like a giant pillow when you fall on it. I haven't boarded in years but am itching to go. This 70 degree weather is not very inspiring though. My great idea for flat FLAT Indiana is to snowboard with Leia pulling me... I could call it dog-sled-boarding. I am sure Leia would love that. Perhaps if food is involved she will at least humor me for a few minutes. :)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Chi Town Christmas

The snowy drive in the city.

My cutie pie.

Too much fun at Marshall Fields (MAcy's).

What she Found under the tree.

"Snow"-- Nick's Parents dog

We had a wonderful Christmas in Chicagoland. We went to the Christkindle Festival and partook in some delicious mulled wine and enjoyed all the German (and Peruvian?) wares. My mother-in-law bought Anastasia some lovely natural wooden blocks at a stand with a sign reading, "nothing at this booth was made in China." They sure know how to rope me in. :) Only bad thing was that it was FREEZING cold and WINDY!!! Knowing this, I am still willingly planning on moving there in the next month. We also went to Macy's (formerly Marshall Fields) and it was HUGE and just stupendous! It was decorated so nice and had its own floor of toys from FAO Schwartz. We loved the lifesize dragons and unicorns and I drooled over some of the wooden train sets and kitchenware.

We spent Christmas with Nick's family and Anastasia enjoyed her presents from Santa... especially the polar bear and some necklaces and maraccas with bells in them. Her favorite gift of all was a box of tissues (as I predicted) and a nalgene sippy cup I picked up. Christmas is way more fun with children. Nicks brother and sister and their families joined us for dinner. It was nice to see everyone. We were even surprised to get to see Nick's best friends Tim and Jason who were in town for a few days! What a treat.

We had a nice snow on Friday and drove into the city for a cup of coffee (which seems like a good reason to drive into town) at Intelligencia--a wonderfully tasty cafe. Their coffee was SO good, a definate highlight of our trip (as well as a ray of hope that there is good coffee SOMEWHERE in the midwest.) I know I am a total snob. :)

Those were the highlights... I wish everyone an AWESOME 2008!! I know we are excited for wherever God might take us this year!

The Joy of Weaning

I know it has been forever and another post will soon follow this with Christmas meanderings. I just wanted to write about my weaning experience because it has been HUGE for us.

I never expected to wean so soon but due to some bites from a couple months ago, I had excruciatingly painful cuts that would not heal. I kept nursing for about 6 or 7 weeks with ups and downs including bouts of tears and a true reluctance to nurse. Finally, after trying EVERYTHING, and downing 2 tubes of lanolin with no improvements, I realized that nobody wins when nursing becomes too painful for me. I continue to pump and no longer nurse Anastasia to sleep (which is HUGE!) We are all much happier. I am a new me. Now I give A. bottles at night, and solid foods during the day. It has been pretty painless and amazingly, I love not nursing. I loved nursing, but now when Anastasia wants mommy, she comes and hugs or snuggles me without feeling like she has to nurse. Maybe I feel less like a cow and more like a nurturer. I also feel more inclined to put down the broom and spend time playing with Anastasia and cuddling her whenever I can to make up for any lack that not nursing may leave. She even seems more content about it. Like most things when it comes to parenting, I didn't expect weaning to be this good.