I'm not entirely sure what happened over this past month, but frankly I don't care. The touchy, sleepless baby that we've been wrestling with for the past few months has suddently disappeared, only to be replaced by the lovely, happy little girl that we remember from six months ago. You'll never know how wonderful it is to go to bed knowing that you're going to let us sleep through the night, only to be woken up -- after 7am, I might add -- by the sweet babling and laughter of our little eleven month old.
Honestly, you've been such a joy to be around this month. I think I can pinpoint the day that it happened, actually. I was in Washington, D.C. on business the middle of the month and your mama diligently kept me in a steady supply of videos of you hamming it up. Most of the time when I go out of town, we hold our breath hoping that you'll cooperate and not be more than your mama can handle, but this time you were clearly very, very happy.
This month, you also experienced your very first Christmas! You've always been such an observer, so you were happy to just take a bit of a backseat this holiday and try to figure out exactly what was going on. You definitely liked all the lights, the oft-played She & Him Christmas album, and wearing your matching pajamas with cousins Emma and Will.
What you did not enjoy, however, was your fancy Christmas dress.
You really handled all the out-of-routine activity well, though. And I'm sure all the great new toys didn't hurt, either.
I can't believe that in just one more month you're going to be a full year old. I'm really glad that you'll be wrapping up your first year in such a happy way. You've always been fun, but this past month has far surpassed all of the months before this one. I can't wait to see where we go from here as we work our way toward your first birthday!
All my love,
Most years, compiling my year-end musical retrospective isn't too difficult. I fire up iTunes, sort everything by the "date added" field, and pick out ten to twelve tracks that really defined the year for me. This past year, however, I came up with 25 tracks.
I really only have two hard-and-fast rules when putting this playlist together: 1) The songs have to evoke a strong memory from the past year 2) Don't add more than 12 tracks. I've learned over the years that exceeding twelve tracks is the quickest way to make a playlist that falls short somewhere. There's always a dud song that kills the pace. This year, I'm throwing that rule out the window, and I think it's paid off.
If you would like to listen to the Team Soell 2011 Retrospective, titled Lucy & the Council of Elephants, you can listen below. If you'd like to take it with you "to go," you can download it in MP3 format. Finally, if you're an Rdio subscriber, you can listen to the companion playlist, although it is missing two songs that they apparently don't have the licenses for at the moment.
What about you? What are you best tracks of the year?
I'm not going to lie to you, this hasn't been your best month. Ever since we got back from our trip to Europe, you've undergone a steady and gradual descent into restless sleeping. It started with bedtime.
Putting you to bed used to be a joy, a pleasure; We gave you your bath, sat with you while you ate and read you a book, and then we would lay you down, kiss your nose, and say goodnight. Done and done. Suddently, though, you were no longer content with this arrangement, and instead required butt pats at a rate not to exceed two per second until you were sound asleep. This wasn't completely unreasonable, except for the fact that it was sometimes taking upwards of an hour for you to fall asleep. You might nod off after ten minutes, sure, but as we slowly crept out of the room we would inevitibly step on a squeaky floorboard, waking you up and starting the process over again.
Of course, bed time hasn't been the only point of contention this month. Even after we finally manage to sneak out of your room, we can count on at least two overnight wake-ups, each one requiring a bottle and a combination of either children's tylenol for your teeth or gripe water for the gas. Sometimes all three. And while your mother and I are definitely night owls, we are looking forward to the day you grow out of this phase.
I have to say, though, that despite all the overnight shenanigans, you're still an absolute delight during the day. You're just so happy and smiley all the time that it makes it hard to stay mad at you, even though we spend the days walking around like zombies due to lack of sleep. In fact, you're just so happy that you have apparently decided that you don't need to take naps any more! Fantastic!
What has saved us though, and has enabled us a safe option to lay on the couch and get a nap in here and there, is your bouncer. If there is one thing you love in this world more than not sleeping, it's bouncing. We could put you in this thing for hours and you're just the happiest little jumper in the world.
Early this month, we also got to meet up with your grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousins for a family photo shoot. Here are some of the highlights.
Team Soell: Mama, Papa, and Lucy
Auntie Julenna, Shirlene and Grandpa Rex, Mama, Lucy and Papa
Mama, Lucy, Grandpa Rex, and Auntie Julenna
Mama, Lucy, Papa, Auntie Lesley, Uncle Darin, Cousins Will and Emma, Mimi and Gramps
Lucy, Papa, Mimi and Gramps
Lucy and cousins Emma and Will
Lucy, Mimi, cousin Emma, Gramps, and cousin Will
You're getting so much bigger and stronger, and hearing you laugh every day at something new is amazing. I can't believe all the little things you're learning to do as you inch your way down the path to independence. Let's just keep working on the sleeping thing first though, what do you say?
All my love,
The holidays are stressful. Halloween is fun, and I have no problem with Thanksgiving, but once that last turkey sandwich (topped with stuffing and cranberry sauce, of course) has been consumed is when my stomach really gets tied up in knots. Not because of the ungodly amount of pumpkin pie that I'm sure to have eaten, but because of all the shopping that I know needs to be done. This year, January had the great idea of getting professional pictures taken for both of our families: A great gift and almost no Christmas shopping? Genius.
So this past Saturday morning, we met up with our families at Inniswood Park in Westerville to spend an hour or so getting our pictures taken. We were cautiously optimistic about the weather all week, and on the morning of the shoot we were happy to find it nice and sunny. It was a bit on the cold side, but for a weekend in November there was very little to complain about. Around ten in the morning, we rolled into the gardens with my parents, my sister, her husband and two children, January's dad, step-mom and sister. That's a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of people to handle.
Lucy hamming it up for Mimi and Grandpa. Photography by Lisa Rice Photography
I'm admittadly a little biased when it comes to central Ohio photographers, but we were fortunate enough to be able to get Lisa Rice -- with whom January has been able to shoot several weddings over the years -- to meet up with us to take these pictures. Lisa was great and was able to quickly get through each group and combination of people quickly so we didn't have to get too cold.
Team Soell with the Newbanks family. Photography by Lisa Rice Photography
At the end of our time at Inniswoods, Lisa had taken photos of just about every combination of us imaginable. Coincidentally, just as I was beginning this article we got an email from Lisa with our final photos, and they're just so great! We're both really excited to be able to get some prints of these made and wrap them up for Christmas morning, but I couldn't resist sharing just a few of them here.
Will and Grandpa. Photography by Lisa Rice Photography
Lucy with her mama and papa. Photography by Lisa Rice Photography
It feels really good to have our holiday shopping all but done, weeks before Thanksgiving is even here. I'm definitely looking forward to less time stressing over shopping and more time decorating the tree and watching Lucy experience her first Christmas. Thanks again to Lisa for the incredible photos, they're better than we imagined they would be!