Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Overwhelming Every Day

Echo at 15 months

Echo is officially a toddler. A a crazy one at that. This picture was taken back in May and my brother's pre-wedding festivities.

I haven't been blogging and as time seeps on I start to panic about losing detail or getting to far from an event for it to matter (Echo's first birthday?!)

So for now, here is a little post on my dear sweet E. I will give her birthday a proper post.
Echo at 17 months

So- Blueberries. The best possible explanation of Echo at GASP 18 months, is her complete devotion to blueberries. She's always been a great eater. She's getting a bit more dubious of veggies lately, but if she see's anything that even looks a tiny bit like a blueberry, she goes ape. She begs and pleads and whines and will eat half a pint in one sitting. Other favorites are oatmeal, plain greek yogurt with a little pure maple syrup (and blueberries obvs), scrambled eggs, sweet potatoes, grilled chicken (she won't eat fried), edamame and pad thai.

She hates sitting still, she loves water. Even the simplest sprinkler elicits oo's and awes. She says about 30 words, including Mama, Gilligan, Rory, Daddy, Thank You, All Done and Shoe. She dances wildly at any music, and sings softly to the more sombre tunes. She folds her arms for the prayer, and loves to take walks. She can handle even the biggest slides at the park all by herself. Her favorite person is probably her Grandpa Alexander, though she rarely meets someone she doesn't like. She also loves to smack her parents which we are working on....

So other then a toddler consuming my life, what's up? Jared is almost 6 months in to being a scribe at UF Health North, still chugging away towards PA school. And I, after a year of working "part time" 35 hrs a week, am going back to full time hours. We've been enjoying our time having just about no social life beyond Netflix ha! Although we have been l o v i n g Broadchurch and Stranger Things lately.

I've been back on my fitness grind. I've dropped 13 lbs! I am really proud of myself. The last year has been hard in a way that it's difficult to describe. Just so much change, and growing up, frustration, loneliness, heartache and trial countered with pure joy, support, love, bravery, and hard work. Just the overwhelming ever day that most of us endure.

We also got to go on a great family vacation to Vancouver. Blogging it is on my list!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Better late then never

* This has sat in my inbox for 3 months!!! So may as well post it right? I have a bunch of updates to slog through but you gotta start somewhere**

I just had a thought of Echo at 8 years old and my breath caught in my throat. It makes my eyes well-up to think of her journaling, reading Anne of Green Gables for the first time, writing in her friends yearbooks, and checking out book after book after book on dogs or chinchillas or whatever she is obsessed with. Maybe she won't do any of that stuff, but I sure did. Looking at Echo really makes me think about my own childhood and how imperfect it was, but also consider the fact that for most of it I was so earnestly happy.

Echo at 11 months is climbing stairs up and sliding down again and again. She started wobbling around at 10 months and is now trying her hardest to run, often falling flat on her face. She grabs a trophy: a whisk, a lego, a sock, and carries it around. Walking back and forth, exploring every nook, and now climbing anything she can. After a walk the other day I bent to unleash the dog, and in a second she had pushed the stroller to the front door, scampered to the top and started grasping for the doorknob.

Shes also had a cold for weeks and is the snottiest kid on the block. Ever tried to give cough syrup to a congested spider monkey? *update she had- and still has!- RSV*

A few first steps.

We got a new behemoth car seat. It looks launch-ready and I'm certain she will be the cutest thing in lunar orbit. With the new car seat came a realization that holy crap we have 0 space in our car so....something else? Wanna buy a Ford Focus? The minivan looms in the distance, but my wallet and ok a tiny bit of my pride isn't quite ready for that yet. People are very passionate about minivans, did you know that? They are even more passionate about giving a 1 year old the right to face forward and see the wide open road for what it truly is! She deserves it, darn it! But I say through gritted teeth that she is very petite and install the car seat rear facing just the same, while feverishly reciting the Consumer Reports study I poured over in my head. I try to think of all the unwanted advice I have been given and swallow my opinions as often as I can, which is not easy for me. *update- we got a CR-V*

When I think about why it's been so hard for me to blog lately, I look to the last few paragraphs. My life is work and Echo and Jared. Not so many fun little romps lately. In fact, many really boring romps! Many treks through adulthood. But still nuggets I want to remember and a life that I am so grateful for.

Our family turned 4 on January 21st. Jared and I, and Echo. My team. Jared is a really good dad and a great partner. I love him a lot and I still have a big crush on him.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 In Review

2015 I successfully brought a bright little soul into this world.

I was blessed to be able to have 3 months full time with her, months that seem seconds long in retrospect. 

We traveled to Washington D.C., Chicago, a lake town in Georgia, and  introduced Echo to Disney life and Harry Potter.

I breast fed on planes, trains, in museums, resturaunts, bathrooms, and on many many park benches. I grappled with the loss of that connection and then reveled in Jared enjoying his share of 3 am feelings thanks to formula. 

Jared graduated! And then delved right back in to studies, preparing for his grad program. He has busted his butt all year and gotten an A in every class. 

Fate smiled on the Hendricks avenue ward giving us amazing lifelong friends, who almost moved away from Jacksonville. Luckily social media and cell phones make it nearly impossible to escape eachothers lives, sorrynotsorry.

We moved down to Mandarin.

I rung in the new year with some of those friends, all of whom will move on in 2016. I can't help but wish and hope we will join them at some point. Maybe not with a move but with a change and hopefully an acceptance for 2017. 2016 will be a big transitional year for us no matter how you slice it, and I look forward to breaking it wide open. 

We had our early toast at 10:50 pm, introduced some peeps to black eyed peas (yes there are people who have never had these) and I gave the New Year baby a kiss for luck- and her dad, too. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Joy To The World Pt 2

See that? That is concentration and dedication to a drumstick. The glossy eyes, the running nose. All bets are off. 
 Echo meeting Santa was so darling. She pet his lapel and smiled at him, and he assured us he knew just what she wanted for Christmas. Pro tip: Meeting Santa 2 weeks pre Christmas on a Thursday at 4 means no lines at all!

A trip to Disney with The Hills! It was so nice to go to Disney with our flock of children. Slow paced, lots of snacks, E clutching a fry like it's about to run away from her, and of course her little head on Spaceship Earth, snacking on her bonnet string. The thing is, even if people are totally ok with you going at the pace of a snail, parking the stroller, feeding the baby snack after snack, changing bottoms, taking turns on ride, this whole lifestyle of parenting and family and obligation- even if they are 100% at peace with that, I still feel guilty that we are ruining their time. So going with other people who are also shackled to their beautiful children gives everyone peace of mind.

 So while we loved the Jacksonville Historical Society's Gingerbread Extravaganza, some grinchy volunteers soured our experiance a bit. The actual houses were amazing though!

This version of the old Jax downtown library was my favorite. I still remember going to that branch as a child and watching a movie in the little theatre. It seemed like a wondrous place, and seeing this really reminded me that the smallest things can be magical for children. Going on walks, pretending at parks, participating in story time at the library, watching the train table in the lobby - simple little things can be so much  more to a child and can stick with a person their entire life.

Echo's favorite thing is to giddy-up! Whenever she's happy, which is quite frequently, she's positively bouncing and bubbling over. The teeth. The two bottom teeth.

We said goodbye to our dearest Uncle Joel, Echo's favorite mode of transportation, this month. She looks so grown in the photo in her hodge podge jammies. Little rosebud pout.

Favorite Christmas gift alert! Santa DID know what Echo wanted for Christmas, by way of her Cammie :). No baby Mannings were hurt in the production of this photo. I mean--- look at Ben's muscles, he can take it. Ben and Echo have been the same size ever since he turned 4 months and she turned 9 months :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Joy To The World: Pt 1 Echo Update

December.. another month another blog post. First resolution: blog more in 2016.

A little update on Echo, punctuated by the most beautiful family photos by Amanda Lenhardt. And there are a lot of pictures. Warning: abundance of milky fair, ocean-eyed baby may have you clutching your heart and swooning repeatedly. This should take away from the fact that the words are pretty boring to anyone who isn't me, my husband, or Echo's grandparents.

This picture fully embodies Echo's spirit. The bold posture, the bright smile, the come-what-may attitude, all while crushing her mother beneath her feet, dusting her heels on her parents. Just kidding on that last one, but we are truly at her leisure, and what a pleasant way to spend the time.
Echo was 10 months old as of Dec 16. At her 9 month check she clocked in at a hefty 16 lbs 13 oz. She's made it to the 25%! She never ever ever stops. Her main focus right now is crawling from place to place, yelling wildly, swinging and speaking to inanimate objects, climbing onto coffee tables and ottomans, whipping up stairs lickety-split, and STANDING all on her own like a big girl.

The first time she stood up I was in the foyer at church, taking a break from sacrament meeting as you do with a then 9 months old. During the prayer or sacrament, or something or other that was holy and I should have had my eyes closed for, she scrambled up using the side of the arm chair and grabbed my keys with both hands, solidly standing there on two feet for a good 30 seconds. I of course did NOT have my eyes closed, and gasped and shrieked wildly while others cracked their lids to see what the heck was going on. Proud moment.

10 months has brought a little bit of a sleep regression, teething (2 on bottom were joined by 1 shiny top tooth), and finally some sense of decorum when it comes to going to strangers. She loves her Mama, folks. Although I say that, while just a few weeks ago at Disney I had to drag her away from a stranger who was sitting next to me at a show. Echo was desperately flirting with this man and trying to climb in to his lap.

Favorite foods are still savory for the most part: hummus and toast, roasted broccoli and asparagus, eggs with cheese, chicken drumsticks. She still has a hard time with plain fruit, although she loves red apples.

Jared has been hanging out with E all month on his break from school. She cracks up when he pretends to lightsaber duel with her, loves to play hide and seek, and enjoys their daily lunch dates about town.  Her favorite word is Dada. She still has very little interest in clapping or waving or whatever other tricks I try in vain to teach her, but she does occasionally give very toothy kisses,

And with that, I say bring on more pictures. We were running a little late for our shoot, Echo had fallen asleep, and I remember being so stressed heading to get our pictures taken. But I feel like they really capture who we are right now well. A little tired looking, but so very happy flanking our radiant girl.

Her eyes! Her EYES. They really do sparkle and shine.

Her lashes and pointy foot are killing me here. And that smirk.

Classic E smile, she gets it from her daddy.