Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye, 2009: You’ve Been Good To Us!

2009 brought us more blessings than we could ever ask for- and more than we deserve! :) Here are some highlights from the psat year as we look forward to a wild and wonderful 2010 as a family of three (well, five if you count Rebel and Mocha)!

January:  John and I finally did something we have always wanted to do- took the Rangemaster gun safety course. John has gone on to take Level 2 and get his permit to carry.

February:  John moved from Morgan Keegan’s Downtown office to the East Memphis office to join the Mortgage Finance group.

April:  We took a “babymoon” to the Alluvian Hotel in Greenwood, MS, and enjoyed the spa and a Viking cooking class.

May: We celebrated our third anniversary on May 6th. On Memorial Day, I was 9 months pregnant and feeling awful, so John went to Sonic to get me a cherry limeade. A few hours later, Helen Grace arrived- surprise! Be careful what you drink! ;)

August:  After 12 weeks of maternity leave, I started back to work at Vaco on a part-time schedule (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday).

September:  John and I dedicated Helen Grace’s life to the Lord and promised to raise her in the Catholic faith.

December:  Helen Grace’s sixth month has brought all kinds of fun new adventures- waving, sitting up, and her two bottom teeth!

Last weekend, we celebrated a late Christmas with our cousins, Cam and Hanley, and their girls, Hayes and Hastings. Hayes is fascinated with HG, and she helped Helen Grace open her Christmas gift- which was a big hit!CIMG3935CIMG3937 CIMG3939 On a lunch date with our friend, Karen, who will welcome Baby Jack into the world in just a few short weeks. Babies are truly such miracles. CIMG3941 Helen Grace’s first time in a big girl stroller. She LOVED riding around the mall and getting to see where she was going. Her feet never stopped kicking….well, until she finally passed out. Shopping is hard work!1st big girl stroller Ringing in 2010…at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve…with Uncle CB.CIMG3948 These guys have been friends for over 20 years: John, Thomas Mullins, Larry Mullins, Billy Egner, Chris BrownCIMG3950Happy New Year!CIMG3956 We were trying to coax Thomas into giving Helen Grace a kiss, but he wanted *nothing* to do with it. Grody girls- ha!CIMG3957 

We are all packed up for our trip to Dallas this weekend to see the Rebs play in the Cotton Bowl. We fly out tomorrow afternoon and come home Sunday afternoon. I swear it was more difficult to pack for HG than for me. There are so many different scenarios to think of, and I am tying so hard to keep her in her normal routine so that she won’t notice we are gone. Wishful thinking maybe? I am mentally preparing myself so that I don’t have a breakdown tomorrow when we drop her off. I’m feeling good so far, but I will have some Kleenex on hand just in case. I know she will be in great (and VERY capable) hands with our parents. I am definitely looking forward to seeing some very special family and friends there and making memories. Here’s to having a good time together and returning rested and refreshed!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

First Bow

I got so excited about posting Christmas pics that I forgot some of these good ones from our week before Christmas. Enjoy!

Daddy loving on his little girl at our kitchen away from home, Newk’sCIMG3798 Ready for SantaCIMG3804I thought she might be entertained by a pot and spoon since she’s loving banging on things now, but she was much more interested in gnawing on the spoon!CIMG3808Guess who finally has enough hair for a bow?!! It’s actually an “infant bow”- can you believe it?! But it looked pretty dang cute!CIMG3814

7 Months Old

Helen Grace turned seven months old on Christmas- what a joyous day! Here are some things that she is up to these days…

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  • She loves to give hugs and reach and grab for things.
  • She will put her hands up when she wants you to pick her up.
  • She has front two bottom teeth now. They have come about halfway up. She is drooling like crazy and wakes up randomly crying at night, so I expect some more soon.
  • She can sit up very well but shows no interest in crawling. She wants to stand up or sit up all the time. She can stand up holding on to her activity table or coffee table.
  • She is still working on swallowing water from the sippy cup, but she can handle it well.
  • She is super chatty and friendly and seems to be pretty easy going.
  • She is wearing 6-9 mos clothes although her feet are still tiny.
  • She is getting more hair by the day, and it seems to be coming in blonde or light brown.
  • She has been waving a lot this month but hasn’t done it in the last week or so.
  • She is still working hard on blowing raspberries.
  • She usually goes to bed between 7-8 p.m., but she is now getting up more routinely between 6-6:30 a.m., probably because that’s when she leaves on Mon, Tues, and Thurs to go to Grandma Jeanne’s. She will sometimes go back to sleep for an hour or so after a bottle, but more often than not she will stay awake for an hour and then give in for a nap.
  • Her hair can finally hold an itty bitty bow- but just barely. It looks funny, like it’s floating on her head!
  • I don’t have an official weight for her, but she is probably around 17-18 pounds, heavy enough that I am having a very difficult time heaving her car seat into the middle of the backseat!
  • She got the second half of her flu shot this past week, so she is now done with shots until her one year appointment. YAY! This shot was so easy- we walked into the office with her in her car seat and went straight to the nurses’ station, I pulled up her pant leg, the nurse gave her the shot, she wailed for a sec and then caught her breath and stopped, and we walked right back out. Amazing. Wish it were always that easy!
  • Helen Grace continues to be such a fun, easy, sweet spirited baby. My heart still swells every time she smiles at me or grabs my hand. I am pretty sure a day hasn’t passed since she has been born that I haven’t teared up with joy at some point. We are so grateful for this little gift from above!

It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas!

The big day is finally here! I am sure that I was much more excited than Helen Grace- ha!

Growing up in the Moore household, Santa would always leave a trail of Hershey Kisses from my room down to the Christmas tree and would write a message in them at the foot of the tree. This year at the Toohig household, Santa signed his name at the foot of our tree next to his gift to HG, the LeapFrog activity table. We had a great morning of listening to Christmas music, opening gifts, and watching Helen Grace take it all in. She really enjoyed banging on her activity table and standing up on it. She again loved the tissue paper, and any crinkly plastic bags were a hit as well.

I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. on Christmas morning which was terribly early after our long night on Christmas Eve, but that’s the only way we all got up and ready for mass at 9:30 a.m. She was very proud of Geggy as she was a reader that day. HG did perk up when she heard her voice! Helen Grace behaved pretty well through her second church service in 12 hours, but she did get a little sleepy in the middle of it so her daddy walked her around the narthex for a while. She came back in and went up front with John to receive communion and was given a blessing from Father Tim.  Of course, HG was thrilled with that and enjoyed checking everything out on her journey to the front of the church.

After mass, we went to my parents’ house for our gift opening time together, and Bubba was even there for the celebration. I am so glad she was there to watch Helen Grace get lost in all her gifts and wrapping paper- literally, she was surrounded by piles of gifts and paper! I love watching our parents go goo-goo over their grandchild. One thing is for sure- she will always know that she is loved and know how important she is to ALL of her family. She was passed from grandparent to grandparent to great-grandmama and back around. I loved watching it and soaking it all in. It is obviously very helpful to have my mom and Ms. Jeanne both be teachers- she got all kinds of books and fun learning toys that will keep her entertained for years! After filling up on warm apple cider and yummy breakfast treats, we all headed to Ms. Jeanne’s around 2:00 for our Christmas meal.

Helen Grace was exhausted from the gift opening at my parents and fell asleep in my arms as soon as we got to Ms. Jeanne’s, but being the social butterfly that she is, she couldn’t stand to not be included in the lunch celebration. She woke up and sat in her high chair while the rest of us ate. We all found our own couch or spot on the floor and had nice, lazy afternoon/night of family time with constant dessert offerings and overflowing wine glasses. :)

We made it back home a little before 8:00 p.m. or so, and John turned right back around to make it to the annual Christmas Monopoly game with the guys at the Browns. You would think that HG would have collapsed from her LONG day, but she was WOUND UP. She laid in my lap for over an hour literally bouncing! She finally wore herself out around 9:45 or 10:00 p.m. After only a short hour of sleep, Helen Grace woke up crying. While I can normally put her paci back in and walk away when she’s giving me that typical whiny, fake sounding cry, she was absolutely squalling and had tears running down her face. With John’s blessing of “If Mama wants to pick up her baby, Mama needs to pick up her baby,” I grabbed her up and cuddled with her in her rocking chair. Christmas was her seven month birthday, and May 25th still seems so unreal. I asked my mom today if the day of your child’s birth always feels so unbelievable and surreal, and she responded that it’s God’s way of making you remember just the glorious parts so that you’ll want to have more kids- ha! I blame a lot of my surreal feelings on the anesthesia and pain meds, but I just can’t believe it all happened so quickly and unexpected yet she was so healthy and happy. John and I are grateful for Christmas to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, and we also took the time to be thankful for the healthy arrival of our baby girl seven months ago.

Santa’s note in Hershey Kisses under the tree with HG’s new activity tableCIMG3865 CIMG3866 “Merry Christmas, people! Now get me outta this crib so I can see what Santa brought me!”CIMG3868 “Look, I can stand up with the help of my table!”CIMG3871 She can’t keep her hands off the tree- loves to grab the ornaments and lights.CIMG3872 Big hugs!CIMG3874 Laughing with DaddyCIMG3875 Opening her stockingCIMG3877Let it be noted that her daddy put this bow in her hair! But it does look pretty dang cute…CIMG3880 She loves her baby doll and glowing seahorse.CIMG3881 CIMG3882 Getting some Daddy kissesCIMG3884 Checking out the beautiful nativity scene at church (thank you, Geggy!)CIMG3885 Happy Birthday, baby Jesus!CIMG3888 Opening gifts at Spif’s and Google’s…she loves these JellyCat books!CIMG3891 Helen Grace’s FIRST PURSE!!!!CIMG3893 Spif and GoogleCIMG3900 With BubbaCIMG3904 This happens a lot in our house.CIMG3905 CIMG3906 Kissing Santa ClausCIMG3911 Aunt KathrynCIMG3914 GeggyCIMG3917 GrandmaCIMG3918 Geggy and GrandmaCIMG3920 Tuckered out at Grandma’s after a fun-filled day!CIMG3921 On her second wind late on Christmas nightCIMG3925Still going strong!CIMG3929

Our First Christmas Eve as a Family of Three

What a great first Christmas with our best gift ever, sweet little Miss Helen Grace! John and I are blessed to have families that blend very well together and love to have joint family get-togethers, so we kicked off the holiday festivities with lunch at Bubba’s on Christmas Eve. I was in hog heaven getting to spend some time with my cousins, William and Ryves, and John’s Aunt Kathryn came from NYC to spend Christmas with us. We missed our Florida family though!

After an afternoon of family time and grazing of the food table, we went to Bubba’s church, Byhalia Methodist, for the candlelight Christmas service. It’s one of my favorite Christmastime traditions because they sing old carols and end the service with a candle lit singing of Silent Night- gives me chills! I was surprised that Brother Jim started the service with announcing the names of all the new babies in attendance that night and asked that whomever was holding the baby stand up and show the baby to the congregation. I happened to be the lucky one holding her in my lap, and while I was still flustered at getting from the car to the church in the pouring down raining and finding a seat on an aisle and identifying silent toys to keep her entertained…I had to stand up in front of everyone! Whew, good thing HG was so cute and flirty and distracted most people from looking at her frazzled mama! And that was very sweet of him to include us in their church family. Helen Grace stayed very quiet and entertained with her teething ring and program during the service. I realized at one point though that there was a hunk missing out of the program and that it was in her mouth- eek! John ran with her outside quickly but couldn’t find it. We assumed she swallowed it, but she spit it out in the car on the way home. Oh, what a parenting moment! Through the singing of Silent Night, my eyes filled with tears as I held my baby in the candlelight, surrounded by the people that mean the most to me in the world, and realizing how Mary must have felt carrying Jesus and knowing what he was going to experience in his lifetime. We are so blessed to have been given the gift of life because of His great sacrifice. “A baby changes everything”…in ALL of our lives.

We ended Christmas Eve with our traditional time around the fire at Ms. Jeanne’s house. I love cuddling up in front of the fireplace with Buster Dog, John, Peg, Jeanne, Aunt Kathryn, now HG, and a tall glass of wine and watching everyone open gifts. Helen Grace has fallen in love with a stuffed Santa at Ms. Jeanne’s house, probably because he’s just her size, and she had a good time cuddling/wrestling with him. Her favorite part of the gift opening was TISSUE PAPER.

We finally made it home seven hours after we first left to go to Bubba’s, and although John laughed at me because HG won’t remember any of this, I went through all the Santa traditions that my parents did when I was a child. We left out cookies for Santa, and believe it or not, he even left some crumbs for Helen Grace!

HG and SpifCIMG3818Google and HG (and the loud singing Santa that she wasn’t too fond of )Z10M2914 Super Baby!!!CIMG3822 Our new family of threeCIMG3823 And with BubbaCIMG3825 Getting busy on the program at Bubba’s churchZ10M2925 Daddy joining in with the Santa wrestlingCIMG3828 “I’m gonna get you, Santa!”CIMG3829 Enjoying the fire on a cold, rainy Christmas EveCIMG3839 Opening presents from Grandma- took HG a while to get the tearing paper thing.CIMG3847 Yummm, tissue paper!CIMG3852 Does it get better than this as a mama? So much fun!CIMG3857 Cookies for Santa- he loves Snickerdoodles at our house.CIMG3858 Helen Grace can’t wait for Santa to get here!CIMG3861 Oh my, Santa left some crumbs for HG so that she will *believe* and be a good little girl!CIMG3863