Friday, December 15, 2006

First Steps and We're Off!!!

On Tuesday night, Dec. 12, Isabella took her first steps. Andy and I were sitting on the floor, about four feet apart, facing each other. Isabella was standing up in between us and we kept passing her back and forth to each other - holding onto her hands or waste as she walked to the other person. At one point, I let go and she just kept walking towards her daddy! She probably took about 3-4 steps. We were so excited and she didn't have a clue what was going on. But, picking up on our cues, she also got really excited and started giggling and bouncing up and down. She also stood by herself for about ten seconds, which is longer than she has gone in the past. The next night, she took a couple more steps for us. The day after that, she didn't and today we didn't really try since it's been so busy. She's definitely not a walker by any means and this will probably be a gradual development just like her other physical milestones, but we are headed in the right direction!
This has been a really busy week for Andy and to lighten his load, I've taken Isabella to work with me a few times. I used to take her in all the time when she was younger and not mobile. This was the first time I had taken her in all semester and it sure was hard to get work done. Good thing it's finals time for the students which means a lighter work load for me (not that I get super busy, I have a pretty easy job). Anyway, here are some pictures of Isabella hanging out in my office. . .

Finishing up her lunch and playing with her lid. She can be such a goof at times!
Her new refrigerator farm doubles as a file cabinet farm
Giving me some pointers on how to do my job.
I had a lot of laundry to do in preparation for heading out of town. It's next to impossible to fold laundry around Isabella as her favorite thing to do is grab every article of clothing out of the basket and throw it onto the floor.

Around 8:40pm EST today (12/15/06), Andy turned in his last final paper. Here he is checking off the last item on the list!

It sure feels good to be all done!

What a beautiful sight!

All our bags are packed (minus a few bathroom items) and we're ready to go. The plan is to head out of town tomorrow morning arond 8:30ish. First we're heading to Ohio to deliver some presents to a church in Columbus that our church out here has partnered with. Then on Sunday, we're off to Wisconsin! We are so excited! One bummer in all of this is that we have misplaced our cell phone - or it was stolen. Andy called it tonight just to check (even though we knew that it was either off or the battery was dead). But, some guy answered the phone saying "Shep's Aquarium" or something like that. Andy asked for himself . . . "Is Andy there?" and then asked if this was a cell phone. At this point, the guy hung up. Andy called back again and this time we got the voice mail, which was our voice mail. So, either Andy dialed the wrong number the first time or the guy saw our number in the caller ID and decided to let the voice mail pick up. We're not too concerned about the phone - it was a cheapie and we just used prepaid minutes that we were probably getting low on anyway. Still, I'm a little nervous about driving over 800 miles in the winter without a cell phone. Please pray for our safe travels! Better get to bed now - big day tomorrow!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

12 month stats

We took Isabella in for her 12 month appt. this past Friday. As we pulled in to the parking lot of the doctor's office, I was brought back to one year ago as we brought our newborn in for her follow-up visit when she was five days old. The air was just as chilly and we were listening to Christmas music. . . it was hard to believe that all this was a year ago. But alas, it was. We have the child in the backseat who is over three times as large as she was back then to prove it. Isabella is now measuring in at 30.5 inches tall (90th percentile) and 20 lbs. 12 oz. (48th percentile). I continue to be so thankful for our little girl's good health. The only time she has been sick so far was when she came down with a little cold at the beginning of the semester and we've only had to take her to the doctor for well visits. Her health is not something that I take for granted. And, to keep her healthy, we have to keep her up to date on her immunizatins, which she had to get at this visit. She received a total of four shots. I lost track of all that she was getting as some of the shots were combos, but I know she for sure got the MMR, Hep. A, Varicella (chicken pox), and the first of her flu shots (she has to go back in one month for the second). Isn't it funny that there is a vaccine for chicken pox now? That used to be somewhat of a rite of passage. I guess this will probably be one of the stories we tell to Isabella down the road regarding how difficult life was when we were younger.

I made an ornament of Isabella from a picture we took last Christmas. Whenever I turn the flash off of our camera, the pictures seem to turn out blurry and I haven't figured out how to adjust this. . . and with the flash on, there was a glare on the picture so that wouldn't work out either. Anyway, you get the idea.I thought I'd let Isabella play with some crayons just to see how she'd do. After a few minutes, all she wanted to do was eat them. We'll try again some other time. Playing with some papers that she pulled off of the desk in our bedroom.

Eating some of the bubbles in her bath. I can't imagine that they taste that great.
Andy continues to keep trucking away at his to do list. As you can see, he has been very productive. As I type this, he is busy working on his Credo. The goal is to finish this tonight so that he can focus on his other three papers during the week. We leave Bethlehem bright and early Saturday morning. We are so excited to go home, but first we have to get through this week. Things are about to get a little crazy!!!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Isabella growing up

Whenever I look at this picture, it reminds me how much bigger Isabella has gotten and how small she started out. This pic was taken when Isabella was three weeks old. In fact, I think it was taken on the same day as that first teddy bear pic.

What a difference!

Birthday Party Pictures

We had Isabella's birthday party on Saturday. Lots of friends showed up and we all had a great time. Isabella slept through the beginning of it, but when she got up, she was ready for a party!
The Birthday Cake

Singing Happy Birthday!

Blowing out the candles
She's pretty intrigued by the cake
So sweet and yummy
I really like this stuff
Let's see how messy I can get!
Pretty messy!
Time for presents!
She received some really cute stories. . .
and a cute stuffed animal and some baby videos
Playing peek-a-boo with Rebecca
Later in the evening: dancing to the music from her Baby Einstein video
Isabella's 12 month teddy bear picture. This is the best I could do. It is so hard to keep this little one still.

What do you think of Andy's new look?

Andy has been itching for a change lately - so why not change his appearance? I at least wanted him to wait until after we took our family picture (which we had done on Friday). After that, there really was no stopping him.

Here is the before picture
After. . . just kidding - he was just being silly here
The real after picture - who is this man?
Shaving the facial hair was not enough, so he decided to shave his head as well. I must admit that my first impression was, "When did Forrest Gump get here?"
Truthfully, I am a bigger fan of the facial hair and that is probably since Andy has generally had some form of facial hair ever since we've been together. I'm just used to it. Plus, I think it makes him look distinguished. When Isabella saw him this morning, she was a little confused. This man sounded like her daddy but didn't really look like him. After a little bit, she warmed up to him again.
We are curious. . . which do you like better - facial hair or no facial hair. Please leave a comment!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Scrapbooking News

Here's a little info on digital scrapbooking. There are a ton of different web sites out there and many designers who create stuff that others can purchase to make layouts with. (I tend to hunt arond the web for the freebies pretty often). Each designer finds a group of ladies to create a few layouts with their designs (which they give them for free) and then post them in a few online galleries as a sort of advertisement for the designs. Since I really enjoy scrapbooking and really really enjoy free stuff, I decided to apply to be on a creative team. And guess what. . . I got picked! I am now creating layouts for Melanie Willman (aka Melgen designs). I inserted a blinkie with a link to her store in the sidebar. I'm really excited about this and she is a really talented designer.

Here is the first layout that I made using her stuff. . .

Here are some other pages I did this week. . .
This is a redo of a page I did a few weeks ago. I like this version much better.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Birthday Pictures

The time stamp on this picture says 6:51pm. Isabella was born at 6:52pm. So, if Isabella ever asks me what she was doing exactly one year after she was born, I will have to tell her, "Honey, you were hugging a shoe."

We decorated the door of the birthday girl!

My attempt at her monthly teddy bear picture: she was attached to her sippy cup. I couldn't get her to move it away from her mouth. She kept drinking. . .

. . . and drinking. . .

. . . and drinking.

Time to sing Happy Birthday. We gave her a muffin since I'm making a chocolate cake for her party on Saturday.

I almost forgot to put her birthday hat on.


Time to open up presents! She really liked the ribbon.

We bought her a cd player and Worship Jamz cd.

I knew our camera battery was low and this is when it cut out. She also opened presents from Grandpa & Grandma Kilps as well as from Uncle Tim, Auntie Laura, Jacob, & Tyler. No worries though, we had our camcorder running through all of it. More birthday celebration to come tomorrow when we have her birthday party with some friends from the seminary.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Happy Birthday Isabella!

One year ago today, I awoke to a regular day. The plan was to go to work, head to my doctor’s appointment at 4pm, go out to dinner with Andy, and then head to class at 6pm (I audited a class with him that semester). I was pretty hungry as we headed into the appt. and was looking forward to a great dinner, which never happened. In fact, I didn’t eat a normal meal until dinner time the next day.

The dr. appointment was just a regular check-up. I was around 38 weeks pregnant and had weekly visits with my doctor. Thus far, my pregnancy had been very routine and uneventful. That all changed when the nurse practitioner had a difficult time getting a good heart rate from the baby. She had me move around to hopefully stir the baby who could possibly be sleeping. Checked again. Still low. Her rate had generally been in the 130’s throughout pregnancy and this day, it was in the 90’s, which indicated that she was in some sort of distress. The NP suggested that we get to the hospital to further determine what we should do. Apparently, we needed to get there fast because they called for an ambulance. Thankfully, I was not able to realize how serious the situation was or I may have freaked out. Through it all, I remained pretty calm and I can only attribute that to God’s peace coming over me. They checked me again at the hospital and Isabella’s heart rate was still beating erratically – sometimes normal and sometimes really low. They didn’t know what was causing the instability but determined that it would be safer to get the baby out. Everything happened so fast and was such a whirlwind. At first, I just thought that they were going to induce me. (I know that sounds silly now, given the seriousness of the situation – but again – it all just happened so fast). I don’t remember exactly how I found out about the c-section, but my main concern was that I could be awake and that Andy could be present – both of which were possible. They wheeled me into the OR and administered the anesthesia almost right away. Andy arrived, all dressed in his scrubs, right as they began to make the incision. Just a few moments later (6:52pm Eastern time), I heard the most beautiful sound – our baby’s first cries. I couldn’t believe that our baby was here. And when the doctor announced that we had a baby girl – tears just filled my eyes. I’ll never forget that moment. Since her heart rate was still erratic even after her birth, they had to take Isabella to the NICU. I only got to see her for a few moments and didn’t get to hold her until the next day. That was hard. Andy took pictures of her with a digital camera, so at least I could look at her after they stitched me up.

As any parent can attest, the times goes so fast? This was already one year ago! Sometimes it does feel like a while back and sometimes it feels like just yesterday. I get a little sentimental as I think of that precious, tiny newborn. I miss being able to put Isabella between us in bed after her early morning feeding. She would never lay still now. I miss her falling asleep easily in my arms. I always get sentimental when she grows out of clothes and I have to pack them away, knowing that she will never wear them again. At the same time, one of the most rewarding things is to see her learn new things and grow. I can’t express in words how proud I was when she rolled over for the first time or fed herself for the first time, or started babbling. She has many more milestones to reach and we will be right there with her, cheering her on. This past year has been such a gift and we are so looking forward to the years to come.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving and the beginning of Christmas

We hosted Thanksgiving at our place. There were a few of us who weren't able to travel home for the holiday, so we invited people over. Here is our dining room - ready for a feast!This was my first time roasting a turkey - EVER! I was so nervous about it, but it turned out great - golden brown and very tender. What a relief!
Here's a closer look at our bird.

City Hall, the police department, and our local library are all down the street from where we live and they are located in an area called Payrow Plaza. Each year at sunset, on the day after Thanksgiving, there is a tree lighting ceremony for the whole town. It's really a fun event. They provide cookies and hot chocolate, we sing Christmas songs and countdown to the lighting of the tree. We had a great time.
Isabella really liked the lights.
Here is the main tree. It's not a great picture, but it is a huge tree. The darker blobs at the bottom of the picture are people - that's to give you perspective on the size of the tree.
Isabella has been trying to learn how to open doors. Thankfully, she hasn't figured it out yet.
She is playing peek-a-boo with herself in this picture.
Our little elf - eager to sort through the boxes of Christmas decorations.
It turned out kind of blurry, but I still think this is a cool picture. I've seen similar photos online and thought I'd give it a try. Isabella had fun playing with the lights.
Here's our tree - all decorated.
The next morning: Isabella is already getting into the ornaments. We only put a few on the bottom and they are all child-friendly ornaments.

Andy's updated list: Her was able to check a few things off. Unfortunately, the list grew longer this past week. Still, he is definitely making progress. Less than three weeks now. . .
On Tuesday, Isabella let go of us for the first time and stood by herself for a few seconds. She did it a couple of times in a row, but hasn't done it since. She sure is growing up. Her birthday is in four days. What a big girl! She is also getting into more and more stuff. Recently, it has been the phone. Somehow, she turned the ringer off of the phone and she deleted our answering machine message. We didn't realize this right away, so we apologize if anyone was trying to get a hold of us over the weekend. I guess we need to find a new place for the phone, the only problem is that this is the only phone jack in the whole apartment. We'll try to figure something out.