Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First Steps!

My baby girl took her first official steps today.   For the last week Mae has been taking one step and then plopping down... today she took three steps, we reset her and she did it again!  So we 'called it'  little Mae has taken her first steps at 9 months and 15 days old!   This mommy and her dad couldn't be more proud.   Even her brother is excited for her.  :) 

She's been a very good stander now for a few weeks and has been getting more and more steady.  She still has a pretty wide stance so walking will still take some practice with balance and footing - but I suspect within the next month she'll be on the go.  For now she still very much enjoys toddling around with an impressively fast crawl!    

There's no stopping her though - my baby is on her way!  In fact she actually climbed up onto a box the other day without even hesitating... her brother didn't start climbing heights until much later.   Siigh.  She's growing up too fast, but it's an exciting adventure! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Last Sunday we ventured as a family to the pumpkin patch nearby.   It was a fun experience to see Mae see so many pumpkins at once.  She was instantly excited by all the fun orange things that she could climb up on.  Ace had a great time jumping off the hay bales and picking up and carrying the pumpkins around.  

It certainly was a first for Ace to experience a pumpkin patch 'hot' - even when we visited a pumpkin patch in Cali a couple of years ago he was still in long sleeves.  :)   Here he was complaining he was hot in his black tshirt. 

The kids had a lot of fun playing with the hay and putting it onto each other.  It's really cute to see Mae start to mimic playing.  She and her brother spent a few minutes putting hay on each other, before we moved onto other activities.

We left with a little pumpkin awaiting carving.  Ace was "really excited!!!"   :)   Mae had a good time and loved to pick up pumpkins - which she was in fact able to lift up that little one that she's got in the above picture.     Overall a very fun outing as a family!

Our little pumpkin weighing in at...

Mae weighs 15lbs 13oz (10%)

She is 26.25" tall (10%)

Her little pumpkin head is 44.2cm big (25%)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The South Rises Again...

The Jefferson Davis House has been something we've driven on a regular basis since we moved here.  It was on my list of 'to sees' before heading out, but it wasn't ever a huge priority.   On our final weekend here we decided to finally look up the information so that we could go and we discovered that there was going to be a whole event this weekend:  25th Annual Muster Weekend.

We headed out around 9am as we were warned that the parking would be difficult, but we ended up having no issue.   We gathered our tickets and a few souvenirs and headed out to where all the festivities where.   It was quite expansive.  Over 300 period reenactors were participating, with demonstrations like a blacksmith, old fashion photography, and live canon fire.  Most people were actual camping there and even cooking their meals on real wood fires.   It was like stepping into a different time and Loving Husband and I were fascinated and Ace was excited to learn about everything.

We walked around and saw the various sites, were surprised by a cannon or two.   Ace did pretty well with the noise.   He enjoyed seeing the horse trotting around the area pulling wagons and canons.    Loving Husband stopped and spoke with one of the reenactors who was quite passionate about the confederacy.  

They began to do formations and marching around the area and practicing all of that in preparation for the battle that was to take place at 1:30,  we left the camp area and headed up to the house to check it out.   It had been restored from Katrina and was quite pretty.  Although my favorite part was certainly the front porch and the rocking chairs.  I took the opportunity to get Mae to sleep in her carrier and stayed there while the boys went and got a few things at the car. 

The boys acquired themselves some confederacy hats and we all enjoyed trying them on.  After a quick stop to grab some cash and grabbing some lunch, we headed to the area to watch the battle reenactment.   Both kids did pretty well with the noise.  Overall, Mae was more hot than bothered by the noise.   It was a cool event to experience and certainly was as a nice way to round out our last weekend in the south.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

To Miss...

We've only been here in the south a short time and in some ways we are itching to get back home, but in others we're really going to miss our time here in the south - and not just the weather!   I truly love living here, the people are friendly, military life is pretty good, and well the weather is just amazing.  Even in the dead of summer when it was tipping 120' it was tolerable (we didnt' leave the house too much... but still with AC you can handle any temperature!) 

Not only will I miss the sunny and bright blue skies coupled with comfy temperatures, but I will really miss the amazing lightening and thunder storms that we were privileged to enjoy much of this summer.   Ace did great with the thunder, we were a bit concerned it would scare him, but he looked forward to it just as much as us.  We enjoyed some great moments of waking up Ace just so he could see an amazing electrical storm in the sky.   We were blessed enough to avoid any true hurricanes making their way into the Gulf while we were here.  There were no crazy evacuations that were required, and for that we are thankful.    We however did get to enjoy and experience Tropical Storm Lee and a taste of a good storm.  Unfortunately I was quasi in the middle of it while driving over the bridge and I was not a fan of that situation!    The storm was powerful and amazing at the amount of rainfall, wind, and storminess there was.

Things that I will miss include sweet tea.   It was the one thing that I was seriously craving from the moment I knew we were coming to Biloxi.  I was salivating over it and while I know I can learn to make my own - I cannot order when I go out - and NO McDonald's "sweet tea" is NOT the same thing (gag!)     I will miss food that I cannot have back home:  Cracker Barrel and Chic Fil A.   Honestly I am NOT a fast food chicken fan, but Chic fil A made a yummy exception to that rule - and their lemonade is delicious!  Finally, I will miss the Beau Rivage Champagne Brunch.    It was a fun family outing and a good time to try various foods, chat and enjoy mimosas with the husband (which by the way when I asked what he'd miss when we'd leave he chimed in with "mimosas".)  :)

Military Life
While I will appreciate not having to drive 15mph every day to get back to my house, I will certainly miss military day to day life.   I know that Ace will miss 17:00 every day when the Star Spangled Banner is played.   Every day that we were home he would await that 5pm hour for the notice to sound and for the music to begin.  He learned quickly to stand still and quiet and wait for the song to come on and put his hand over his heart and be respectful.    He rotated between singing it and asking us to sing it.    I will also miss Loving Husband being able to come home for lunch.   He didn't do it all the time but it was a nice luxury for us.  Also his ability to come home pretty early in the day was a great perk to counter his 6:30 start of the work day for him.  

"The music's starting!!"

I will miss our neighbors that we grew the closest too. They are fine folk and it will be sad to leave them. Ace will miss their little boy that he plays with. He loves that our friends have lived so close to us.   I will miss the warm evening walks, the very close playgrounds in every direction, and the ability to have the kids play in the water at any time of the day.

Activities and Surrounds!
I will miss living so close to the ocean. While Biloxi beach is never an ocean we wanted to swim in, it was still a very beautiful piece of scenery to drive by on a regular basis.  I will miss having white sand beaches less than 3 hours away to go to.  I will certainly miss the sun.. I know I already said that... a few times!   I will miss the iconic light house and casinos that we drive by nearly daily.     

Kidwise - I will very much miss the Lynn Meadows Discovery Center and Bear Cub Club.  We went almost every week to Bear Cub Club and Ace (and eventually Mae too) had a great time there.     Just last week my neighbor introduced me to Excel by 5 - a great resource for kids that Ace had a lot of fun at - and if only we were here longer I am sure would be come a weekly adventure for us.  

At the Children's Museum

I will miss our church.   We unfortunately didn't discover it until we were more than halfway through with living here, but since we have we've really enjoyed it. Mae stayed a handful of times in the nursery successfully and Ace himself even has learned to adapt well to going to class there.   The people are great and like I said - we will really miss it.

What we missed...
While we did do a lot, there are things that we did not get to for various reasons.   We never took a ship cruise, didn't make anywhere further north to visit various friends and family that are pretty close as compared to where we are typically in the NW.  I never went to the mall, I went to the outlets a few times, but never the mall. I never personally ventured inside a grocery store or the commissary (thank you, Loving Husband!)   I don't leave here with many regrets, only that we didn't have more time with the friends that we made.

Overall, I think we all consider ourselves very blessed to have had this glimpse of another part of the country. Where on banks they quote Isaiah 41:10, where there are commercials dedicated to talking about Jesus, where people are overall relatively hospitable. It's been a lot of fun, albeit a challenge with loneliness for me at times, I am sad that it is drawing to a close.     We met great people and experienced a lot of new things, but now we're looking forward to returning to the NW and the fall like weather! 

After breakfast (hence Mae's new shirt decor) on our final trip to Pensacola
Now the real question... do I have an accent?  ;-)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

School - Fall Themed

Ace is loving this latest installment of school: fall!  We're learning about pumpkins, leaves, skip counting, and a smattering of other fun filled things along the way.    He's really enjoying all the colors!  

One of Ace's trays is sorting.  He has leaves and pumpkins and he puts them into their respective bin using the tweezers.   It takes him a few tries to really be able to do it properly with the tweezers but he's working on that fine motor skill with great determination.   Always has his tongue sticking out while he works.  *All these supplies can be found at Hobby Lobby*

Ace really enjoyed the matching game last month and so I wanted to reincorporate that into this month's trays as well and along with the simple matching game I wanted to pair it with some science and teach him why the leaves change color, so I ordered Why Do Leaves Change Color?.  It is a bit too detailed for him, but he can grow into the book and understanding - which I prefer to an over simplistic version.     I then found some free leaf printables from PreKinders (along with a lot of other great resources!)  They were a bit more detailed and Ace had to pay a bit closer attention to really match up the different ones.

We took a walk that day and also gathered leaves to look at the various color (which here in Mississippi isn't a terrible color variation since it doesn't get very cold around here.)   We collected them and brought them home and decided to see if we could match them to the ones in the book.   On another day we did some leaf rubbings and that was met with minimal excitement.  Well I enjoyed it.  ;-)

We are also learning about how pumpkins grow and in general how things grow from seeds and into plants/flowers/etc..   I located some nomenclature cards for the life cycle of a pumpkin via The Wonder Years  and the cards are free from Montessori for Everyone.   I coupled that with the book From Seed to Pumpkin - which was more at Ace's level of understanding and he really enjoys that story.    I wish that we were staying here longer so that we could plant a seed and watch it grow.  Perhaps we'll do this next year!

Our focus on 'math' this month was on skip counting - getting Ace one step closer to counting to 100.   He can do 1-10 pretty easily and 11-19 are a bit touch and go.  So this month I introduced to him to counting by tens - he figured out pretty easily how it works which is why he after saying 'forty'  says 'fivety' and 'one-y' (100)   He's not got them memorized but he's doing well.   He's not quite got that once he's got those down that counting to 100 will be a breeze, but he will.  :)

There are other fun items still to come including an introduction to the mayflower and the first Thanksgiving!  Looking forward to being back in the NW for a more colorful backdrop to our fall themed school!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nine Months Old

In about a half a second that headband goes flying!
Little Mae is nine months old!  She is a chatter box that is increasing her free standing, her acrobatic twists and twirls, and still isn't a huge fan of actually consuming solid food.    Yes, she loves to snack on her milk though and hardly looks like she misses a meal.     She's a happy beautiful girl who is very smart (all parents say this, I know!)

Mae's newest experiences this month:  free standing, a visit inside a lighthouse, waving, clapping, test driving a new car (ok riding in one), and the word 'bah bah' (brother.)

Yes, Mae has really begun to babble a lot and she uses the 'lalalas' now and still is very into the words of 'mama' and 'dada' and in the last couple of weeks she has added in her other favorite person 'bah bah' her brother.   She talks to him and even asks for him in the morning when she wakes up.  It's very sweet and I love that she loves her brother so much.    She is signing pretty well and certainly understand a lot of what we say.  She mostly still only signs 'all done' and 'milk'  but we're working on her with 'please' 'more' and 'eat'.   

Speaking of eating - she's not terribly interested most of the time.  I try to get her to eat solid food while her brother does it - but she doesn't want much.  She will consume the puffs and french fries if we have those, she'll gum up a cucumber, and obliterate an orange slice, but actually consuming baby food or even any 'people' food for nutritional value seems to be of little interest to her at this point.    I'm not too concerned.  She's still growing pretty steady and she's not looking like she's missing a meal so she's doing fine.   She'll get there eventually.  :)   We don't have stats until next week... so stay tuned.

Sleep for Mae and the rest of us is sub par - I feel we've declined even more than last month.    She's just not sleeping long stretches, she's flipping over and CRAWLING in her sleep!   She's very squirmy and squirms herself awake.     It's mildly frustrating so we'll see what the weeks to come hold for us.  With our moving soon it doesn't bode well for much.   

Activities for Mae include tackling her brother, eating paper, and chewing on just about everything else.  She loves to play along side her brother and Ace does a great job to accommodate that.   She however just loves to eat paper and she can find it anywhere.  She's so excited to consume it!  I don't get it - we try to avoid it, but she continues to do it.  Siigh. 

Mae is doing very well with her free standing - just in the last few days she has gotten better and better with balance and standing for longer times.  Mae has also started to wave 'bye bye' and 'hello'  and also has started to clap - all of these things are just super cute and we love that she has the biggest grin on her face while she does it. 

This was quick month and I suspect this next month will go even faster as we get ready to move and make a road trip again.   Mae is doing wonderful and is a joy even if she is a little terrorist when it comes to sleep. :-/ We have officially entered the phase of pictures that make it crazy impossible to get the typical shot.  Last month it took the whole family.  This month it was Aiden and I doing our best to get her to smile AND sit still... wasn't happening - enjoy some outtakes! :)

She just rotates over and over in a circle like a little tornado!

So proud of herself!

Smiling at her brother!

Free standing and sooo happy about it!

To see Ace at 9 months click here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ten on Ten - October

Good morning, mama! I let you sleep in it's 7:40!

This is the flower Ace bought for me last week.  :)

Checking out mama's phone!

Outdoor playtime!

Test drive!

Beautiful sky today!

After lunch 'exercise'

Yummy lemonade!

She did this off and on AFTER her nap for almost the entire 3 o'clock hour... super.

A little time for mommy now....
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