Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crazy Weekend

I've been working on last night's post for weeks, now, and had more edits and additions in mind for it (like photos) but ultimately published it as-is when I realized that it was 11 :55 pm and I was about to let a day go by without posting. I'm not sure why I'm so insistent on posting each and every day; I suppose it's because I often fear that my momentum is all that's keeping me going, and I don't want to lose it. And so, here I sit, desperately hammering out a blurb on the touch-screen of my smartphone as Tom drives us home from our weekend in New York/New Jersey, where we attend cousin Ed and Alyssa's beautiful wedding and related celebrations. We're not likely to be home until sometime after midnight at this point, and I don't want to let the day slip by.

However, being confined to a touch-screen device with a very limited viewing space makes for a frustrating writing experience, so I'll be brief. I mainly wanted to report that it's been a crazy, exhausting weekend, but one overflowing with love, joy, and family.  So worth it, every time.

Congratulations Alyssa and Ed! Here's wishing you a whole lifetime of such happiness.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Four Weeks (July 20th, 2012)

Today, a test confirmed what my heart has been whispering to me for a few days, now.  I clutch the memory of that experience to me, like the pillow that I must struggle to release as I am wrenched from sleep in the midst of a dream.  Am I afraid of waking to this reality?  Perhaps, a little.

More than that, I think that I have carved a little corner for myself; tucked in to a bubble in which I've been floating all day, peering at my surroundings through shiny, rainbow distortions.  I want to crawl into this moment and hold it tight, this very beginning point, when you are just a spark of life inside of me and I can cherish the idea of your presence in absolute purity, before physical and logistical downsides begin to color the experience.

Already, you are making your presence known.  As though my newfound knowledge of you has given you license to announce your existence, your joyful greeting song expands within me until it begins to shake around the contents of my stomach, fuzzy up my mind, and rock me into a numbing state of exhaustion.

And as I lay here, spent, punching down errant thoughts as they pop up, over and over, in the virtual game of whack-a-mole that ever plays in my head, I finally let the regrets and fears wash over me.

How could you have been so careless?
Doesn't your body need more of a rest?
You're struggling with two- what will you do with three?
What if you lose your milk supply for Michael?
How can you possibly take care of yourself through the pregnancy- you're not even sleeping at night!
You're going to have three under three.

But when the tide falls back from the sand, all that remains is the love that I already feel for you, which surpasses all.  God's timing is not my timing, after all.  Nor is yours.  Still, you are wanted, and have been, since before you took up residence in my belly, and my soul.  Already, my life is changed, and I cannot imagine it without you here.

Five Weeks (July 28th, 2012)

I set up an App, to track your progress, and spent the first few days reading and re-reading the details of your current state.  Imagine my joy when finally, a new week appeared, and a new update.  Such a silly reaction, given that I've done this twice before: I've read every little description, pictured every fruit size.

But I cling to these depictions, these images, because I'm in the midst of one of the hardest parts (for me) of this journey of ours.  The beginning, the abstract, when I know of you but must struggle in my attempts to accept you as a reality.  When my days are filled with other thoughts beyond your presence, but you linger ever in the back of my mind, to be brought forward by a physical reminder- extreme fatigue, overwhelming smells, queasy feelings in my insides.

Or simply a rare moment of quiet, when I have the chance to wonder at how impossibly far away our journey's end seems now, and what a brief moment it will have been reduced to, in the grand scheme of our lives, when all is said and done.

Seven Weeks (August 9th, 2012)

... when you have reached the size of a blueberry- the discovery that led your father and I to playfully nickname your sister in-utero, at the thought of the "Little Blueberry" inside of me.  Last week, it was just an apple seed, and not a day went by that I did not intend to pay tribute to your six-week mark as well, but it has been difficult to find true privacy in our current circumstances (out at the beach house in Point Lookout, with various family members popping by).

I've thought of you often, though I've never had the time to do so for long.  Especially in the last two days, when every time I sit down to rest I see my tummy poking out just a little more than usual.  It's just bloat at this point, I know, but still a visual precursor of what is to come.  I begin to wonder how soon you will make your presence known.  Abby, being my first, took the longest, of course.  I think I sprouted the tiniest of bumps at perhaps 15 or 16 weeks.  That same level of progress was achieved by week 11 with your brother.  Only time will tell for you, I suppose.

In the meantime, your father and I keep you a closely guarded secret.  This both excites and frustrates me.  I love the special bond that it has created between us, our own private reality, untainted by the intrusion of anyone else's.  But it can sometimes be difficult to suffer in secret, especially in this heat, and surrounded by family from whom I must hide myself away to work through the worst of my discomfort on my own.  And as rattled as I still am by the changes that our family faces, much sooner than I intended to have them happen, I am honored to be host to you, and wait, somewhat impatiently at times, for the appropriate moment to introduce you to the world.

Eight Weeks (August 17th, 2012)

Kidney bean-sized now.  And I'm starting to pop out the top of my abdomen- a new phenomenon.  Your brother and sister both initially protruded from behind my belly-button.

Back at home, out of the heat, I'm infinitely more comfortable.  But still so infinitely exhausted.  Send good vibes to your brother for me, will you?  We both very much need him to learn to sleep soon.

Less than a week left until I finally get to "see" you, and I am so impatient for the opportunity.  Until then, I'll keep desperately trying to craft some abstract sense of you n my mind, in my heart.  To find some way to make it all finally, beautifully, real.

Nine Weeks (August 24th, 2012)

I got my first glimpse of you yesterday.  So small, and yet so much bigger than I expected you to be.  Then again, I first saw your sister at seven weeks, and your brother and eight.  You've had a whole extra week to grow, and grow you have!

If you were moving in there, I couldn't see it, but the sound of your heartbeat was magical.  Even Abby stopped and looked around the room when the steady rhythm of it began to drum through the ultrasound machine.  Perhaps she found it familiar, as she used to hear her brother's little heart beating from inside me, all those months ago.

Certainly, once upon a time, she heard the sound of my heartbeat, from the very spot in which you are nestled now.

In what ways will you be like her, like Michael?  And in what ways will you be different?  Part of me is impatient to know, but the rest?  The rest can stand to wait- to cherish this special time with you, when your every need is met so organically and automatically- my breaths are your breaths, my food your food, my body your warmth and comfort.  Because all too soon, the day will come when the three of you outnumber your poor father and me.  But it will be so worth it, to finally get to meet you.

Ten Weeks (August 31st, 2012)

It's starting to sink in, I think.  A little.  Certainly, the news of your presence is spreading, slowly but surely.  The excitement and joy of others as they hear of your impending arrival is helping me to reignite the joy that I've been trying to feel, underneath all of the exhaustion, and fear.

Please don't misunderstand.  I am so incredibly grateful for you, and protective of you.  My heart would break if I lost you.  But I have so many worries that I am nursing, so many obstacles to overcome now, and in the future, because of the timing of your conception.  It's a little terrifying to contemplate at times, so I'm really trying not to.

Instead, I am vowing from this day forward to enjoy my journey with you, to the best of my ability.  Of course, I won't love every minute- I'll never be a fan of the throat-tightening nausea, the insidious heartburn, the aches, the pains, the fatigue.  But I'm honored by the privilege, and in love with the process.  And that's what I'll cling to.  That, and the knowledge that this is the only time, the most rare, precious of time, that you are all mine, and always, always with me.

Eleven Weeks (September 10, 2012)

I had a conversation with your sister about you, today.  She gets a little rough, sometimes, when she climbs and snuggles in my lap, and I have to remind her that there's a tiny baby in Mommy's tummy that she must be gentle with.  I told her, "That's your little brother or sister in there."

"Sister," she corrected me.  (Only time will tell if she was right.)  Stunned, I said to her, "So, Abby, are you having a little sister, then?  What should we name your little sister.?"

She thought for a moment, and then said, excitedly, "Michael!"

Sorry, kiddo.  I can think of a couple of reasons why that wouldn't work out.

Thirteen Weeks (September 24th, 2012)

I've gotten sidetracked again, and missed a week.  But the real excitement has started this week, anyway.  This past Friday, I felt that first little kick.  Well, it was the first one that I noticed, anyway.  And since then, I've been amazed at how many I've been able to feel, especially given how early it still is.  It took me until about 18 weeks to decide for certain that I'd felt your sister, and until about 15 with your brother.  Even then, it was weeks more before I felt anything with any regularity.  But with you, I'm greeted every morning by the pop-popping of your tiny toes as your little leg stubs kick away like a miniature backstroker.  Thanks to your sister, I've got a visual of it burned into my brain from an 11-week sonogram when she kicked around furiously, to the amusement of all.  It was one of the most precious moments I've ever experienced.  And I'll add to it these special moments I'm spending with you, long before even your father can share in them by pressing a hand to my belly.  I'm sure you gave it your best shot the other day, though, as he lay his head against me and the sound of his voice (or maybe just the vibration and pressure that he created, since I think it's too early for you to hear us) set off a flurry of motion.  I could feel it all, but he could not.  Your kicks are strong, but not that strong- not yet.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Now, for the Nine Month Reveal

Abby's nine month pictures served as our announcement for my pregnancy with Michael. This was the photo that went up on Facebook:

And here are a couple of out-takes (the message on her shirt wasn't showing up adequately, or at all).

August was a pretty big month for Abby. As you can see, her bottom teeth were displaying quite nicely within a couple of weeks of coming in, and her curiosity and initiative were kicking in, full-force. She started cruising around and getting into everything.

Here she is, after having gotten her hands on a newspaper. It's one of my all-time favorites, though I have no idea how I managed to capture such a goofy expression.

On close inspection, you can see that her top teeth were very close to appearing, as well.

A few days after her "month" birthday, she had her first play date, with the daughter of her Godparents...

... which included a lovely visit with her Godmother.

As Gracie the Cat became a bit more accustomed to having a baby in the apartment, Abby was able to have a few "play dates" with her, as well. (Gracie wasn't particularly thrilled about it, though.)

Most notable, however, was Abby's increasing facility with "cruising." (For those of you who have never heard of it, that's the term for pre-walking, or walking while holding on to furniture and other available surfaces.)

She started off by learning to pull up onto her feet, all on her own (these were taken on August 9th).

 Then, I started regularly finding her standing up in her crib in the mornings and after nap time (August 13th).

By the 14th, she clearly had her sights set on bigger goals.

And, if you ever needed any proof of her trouble-making abilities, here is photographic evidence. I did not put her down in the crib with that travel-sized wet wipe container. So where ever could it have come from?

Why, it came from little hands reaching through the crib bars into the diaper bag (which Mommy foolishly left within reach). I learned my lesson after that.

My favorite development of the month came at the very end, however. She perfected her "dadadada" down to Dada, which officially became her first word on August 27th, and began to say Mama for the first time the day after, on the 28th. It was some time before those words were actually attributed to either Mama or Dada, however.

And now, in the spirit of big reveals, and because it's about that time, I have an announcement to make:

On or around March 29th, 2013, Tom, Abby, Michael, and I are expecting a brand-new addition to the family. But more on that, to come.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Abby, the Human Sponge

I comment all the time about how Abby likes to repeat the things that we say. Quite often, she will find a particular phrase attractive and repeat it at first hearing, like a little parrot. And later, I am not surprised to hear her say it again, and again.

However, especially lately, she's managing to say things that I don't ever remember teaching her. I guess she picked them up from somewhere- random conversations between Tom and me? television programs that we've watched in her presence?- but I don't think she picked them up from me directly. Given that she's with me all day long, every day, and goes to no more than one play date a week (at which I am always present), there aren't a whole lot of other places or people that she could be picking things up from. But apparently, it doesn't take much exposure or encouragement for her to learn new things now.

Just the other day she pointed to my phone and said, "Mommy mobile phone." She actually said it a few times, and it took me until the third or fourth time that I heard it to figure out that the middle word was mobile. Because I've never called it that. It's an appropriate term for it, sure. But usually I just call it a phone, or sometimes, a cell phone. Very curious.

Even curiouser: while she definitely learned from me how to say "Bless you," when I or someone else sneezes, that's exactly how I say it: "Bless you." So, imagine my surprise when I heard her say to me one day, "God bless you!" Again, not an unusual phrase in and of itself, and one that many people use. But not me, or Tom. We use the "short" version.

During dinnertime last night, Abby enjoyed her very first soft taco. She was so pleased with it, and with herself, for eating it like a "big girl," that she smiled and said between bites, "Licking Abby lips!" Can't say I've ever used that phrase around her. But who knows? Maybe I have and I've forgotten. With the amount of sleep I've been getting for the past year or so, my short-term memory isn't the greatest.

But the real kicker was just this morning, when I heard Abby chanting, "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear." Um, I know I've never said that in front of her. No particular reason why not- I just haven't had any incentive to recite it since my last campfire sing in Girl Scouts, long ago.

Tom thinks we can attribute that last one to Granda. I tend to agree. Guess I'll have to ask him what else he's been whispering in my daughter's ear when I wasn't looking. ;)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Double-Dose of Cuteness

Some days, Abby pays only a modicum of attention to her little brother.

But others- well, other days look much like this:

Aaand, he's off!

It's the cuddly moments that are my favorite, though. And to add to the poignancy of the scene, as I set up this shot, I heard Abby say to Michael, "I love you."

Though, really...

... the pictures kind of speak for themselves.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Things Mommy Says...

When Abby awakens from her naps, there are all sorts of sounds that come over the monitor that have become quite familiar to me. Like giggles, songs, squeals, chatter, and sometimes, whining and crying. And when she's feeling quite excitable, the creaking of the crib mattress and springs, a sure indication that she is grabbing the side and jumping to her heart's content, as she has made a habit of doing since she was about 18 months old.

It's one of the few bad behaviors I've never really bothered to discipline her about. She tends to do it when I'm not around, anyway, and though she's slowly destroying the mattress over time, it's doubtful that she'll harm herself. I know that I may have my work cut out for me when she moves to a real bed however, and its currently a constant fight to keep her from jumping on furniture and all manner of other inappropriate surfaces. "I said, NO jumping!" is a constant refrain around here.

Still, given that I've never scolded her for jumping in her crib, her greeting to me when I went upstairs to retrieve her from her nap just the other day was quite the surprise. I could hear the rhythmic creaking of the mattress as I ascended the stairs, but it stopped as I opened the bedroom door. And there she stood, with a focused look on her face as though she had been spending the last few minutes preparing. She looked straight at me, and blurted out, "I said, no jumping in the crib!" I was too shocked to laugh about it in the moment, but the re-telling of it later to Tom brought tears to my eyes.

To my great frustration, it's a big joke to her now to repeat all of those things that "Mommy likes to say." Especially since her favorites are the ones that I spend all day repeating, and she spends all day defying as she smiles, laughs, and continues on with no respite.

These include:

"Michael's diapers, no touch."
"I said, leave the diapers alone!"
"I said, NO screaming."
"I said, no jumping on the _____" (feel free to insert chair, sofa, slide, and/or surfaces not yet discovered....)
 "No climbing on the shelf."
"Don't break the book."
"No throwing." (this one, especially, she likes to say AS she is throwing things around the room)

It's so darned cute, a part of me has got to love it. But it makes me want to tear my hair out, all the same.

Monday, September 24, 2012

On the Move

So, it's official: Michael is a crawler. He hasn't quite perfected the art of it yet. In fact, he can only go a few "steps" before collapsing back on to his tummy. But, he picks himself up and keeps going. And he sure does get around.

He actually first began to figure it out on Thursday evening, when I saw him really get going a couple of times. Today, however, was the first day that he gave the effort his full attention, and kept at it for an extended period of time.

I will definitely need to be stepping up the frequency with which I vacuum, because I shudder to think how much lint and detritus he's ingesting as he rambles across the living room rug, sticking his hands in his mouth with every stop. It's like he's on a mission to map out the landscape by taste. Perhaps he's mentally dividing the space into zones: northwest corner is heavy on dust and dirt, northeast, cat fur; southeast, old, dry food crumbs; and southwest, Mommy's hair (of which there is plenty, due to my continuing postpartum loss). Ick.

In the meantime, Abby continues to amuse and amaze. Just the other day, as I was struggling to get a sneeze out, she attempted to interpret the strange faces I was making and finally said to me, "Mommy very, very sad," with a note of concern in her voice.  When I repeated this story to Tom, he fake-cried for Abby to get a reaction out of her. She immediately picked up on the game and declared, (this time, with a touch of amusement), "Daddy very, very sad." It's become a bit of a routine between the two of them, now.

She didn't get the opportunity to wear her new shoes today, but I did get an opportunity to photograph them.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for:

As Abby would say, "So pretty!" (For now, while they're still brand-new, anyway.)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New Shoes for Abby

I finally did it. I got myself out of the house (with the help and companionship of Mima and Mei Mei) with Abigail to get her some new shoes. The main goal of the afternoon was to get her some white ballet shoes at Payless to wear in Tom's cousin's wedding this coming weekend as part of her Flower Girl ensemble. Unfortunately, the Payless in the nearby mall does not sell ballet shoes in white- only pink. I did, however, get a chance to figure out what size will best fit her by having her try on some of the shoes that were there. Because her feet are so wide, it's looking like we can't go any smaller than 8 1/2, which is really too big, but since the ballet shoes there don't come in "wide," I had to go up to a certain size before I could get a width that would allow the pads of her feet some amount of passage into the toe-end of the shoe.

Now I'm debating whether to have Tom look around for a Payless that has white ballet shoes, and just pick up a pair of size 8 1/2s, or whether I should take Abby out to a bona fide dance store to see if we can get her a better fit there. Though an inordinate amount of space is left in the ends of her shoes when she wears such a large size, because they are so soft, they don't appear to be a tripping hazard. But it's hard to tell, just watching her wear them for a few minutes in the store.

We did establish, while on our outing, that Abby's feet have grown to size 7 1/2, which confirmed my recent suspicion that her 6 1/2 wide sneakers are now too small for her. So, our next stop was to the nearby Stride Rite. We found not one, not two, but three pairs of lovely new shoes for Miss Abigail, and she loves them all. I bought her a new pair of sneakers, and a pair of white dress shoes. Mima bought her a pair of black patent leather dress shoes, because every little girl has got to own at least one pair of those, right?

What I really can't wait to put on her little feet is a cute pair of boots. But that will be a project for another day.

I also wanted to get a picture of all of her new shoes, lined up together. However, I didn't think of it until after arriving home from rehearsal this evening, long after Abby was put to bed. And, of course, her shoes are put away in the bedroom with her.

Thus, any and all pictures must wait until tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm wondering if I should get her old sneakers bronzed... {wink wink}

By the way- thanks so much for keeping the votes coming. I'm up to #302 on Top Baby Blogs!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Abby at the Wedding

Today marks the third wedding that Abby has attended since her birth, but it was the first that she has been old enough to really enjoy.

Poor planning and execution of our departure this morning, combined with an unexpected and massive backup on 495 North, caused us to be a half-hour late to the ceremony. Though I regret terribly missing a sung rendition of the Our Father by the bride's sister, which I hear was lovely, I think that in retrospect, our lateness was a good thing. We arrived just in time to witness the vows, but spent very little time in the chapel, which meant that our two very young children managed to be perfectly behaved throughout the whole thing. (And Michael was even late on getting a bottle at that point.)

The brunch reception was held immediately afterwards, and timed perfectly with Abby's usually-scheduled nap time. High on her growing exhaustion, she ran deliriously throughout the crowds of people during the pre-brunch social hour, to the point where one of the guests was heard to say, "Who does that child belong to? There are four women chasing her around." (Those women would be Mima, Mei Mei, Lisa, and Lisa's sister. I was otherwise occupied with Michael.)

Abby was charming and well-received throughout, however. She just made sure to keep us all on our toes until we were seated in the ball room.

Once situated in her high chair, Abby was a perfect angel.

That is, until she was removed during the bride and groom's introduction so that she could see the goings-on. Then, she refused to be put back in her chair.

I had placed Michael in my K'Tan wrap prior to being seated, in the hopes that he, at least, could take a nap amidst the commotion. However, there was far too much to see, and napping was the last thing on his mind.

As we waited to be called to the buffet (we were one of the last tables to be dismissed), Abby spent some time being passed around the open laps at the table. Here she is using Auntie Lisa's camera as a phone.

In the hopes that I might just be able to use two hands to eat when the time came, I placed Michael in his carrier, where, per his m.o., he contentedly amused himself until just before it was time for us to get our food. Thankfully, Mima graciously offered her lap, instead, and spent her meal dodging his grabby little hands and relying on helpful neighbors to cut up her food for her. I felt guilty and grateful all at once.

Abby, at least, was willing to go back in her high chair when the food arrived, though she spent a lot of time putting things in her mouth that she didn't like, and whining until I was forced to remove the half-chewed food from her mouth for her. (I was trying to spare the poor waitstaff the unenviable job of having to clean it off the rug later, which is where it would have ended up if I had not intervened.) When she didn't learn after the first three tries that she wasn't going to enjoy the potatoes any more on consecutive attempts than she had the first time, we had to remove the remainder from her plate. I will give Abby credit- the first time it happened, I instructed her to take the food out of her mouth herself and put it back on her plate, and she did. However, I was not confident that she would be so cooperative the next time I saw the same events unfolding. And I'll be honest, since having kids, I've had far more disgusting things end up between my fingers than partially chewed potato...

Out on the dance floor, Abby quickly made a new friend.

And yes, I did pair her fancy little dress with sneakers, because those are still the only shoes that she has. Someday soon I hope to take her out and get her a nice pair of dress shoes, but that day has not yet come.

She also spent some time dancing with Mima, among others.

When left to her own devices, however, this is her idea of dancing:

I call it the Abby-Hop.

Though Michael made a valiant effort to stay awake through all of the festivities, he lost the battle in the comfort of Mima's arms about an hour before our departure. Once his eyes closed shut, not the constant noise, nor the loud music, nor even the transfer to his carrier could wake him from his deep slumber.

Sadly, his sleep was not deep enough to prevent me disturbing him when it was time to pull the straps out from under him and get him restrained for the car ride home. We spent ten minutes in the parking lot giving him a bottle (which he was overdue for, but I wasn't going to wake him to give him) before we could actually leave.

On the way home, I asked Abby if she had fun.

She thought for a moment, smiled a big smile and said, "Yyyyes!"

Then, "Jumping and big drums!" (As I mentioned earlier, she spent quite a bit of time jumping- aka dancing.  Additionally, she had apparently noticed that one of the DJs was accompanying many of the song selections on a drum set that included large bongos).

Followed by, "I like Sally. I like Charlie." (The bride and groom.)

And, "I like Auntie Lisa."

She made sure to mention the jumping one last time before falling asleep for the rest of the drive.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Another Homage to Eight Months

I'm sure that I'm just over-thinking things, but I debated for awhile about what to call this post. For the past few Flashback Fridays, I've simply been using the name of the corresponding Facebook/Flickr album (I have one for each month of Abby's first year of life, except the twelfth month) as a title for that week's post. However, the title of the album for her ninth month is Everybody's Favorite Eight Month Old. I thought it cute and fitting at the time, since she is not only the first grandchild on both sides, but also the first great-grandchild on four sides. So, of course she was the "favorite"-she was the only.

However, now that Abby has both a younger cousin and a younger sibling, it seems wrong to even jokingly refer to her as the favorite, so I elected to use a different title for this week's post. I think it works, since just two nights ago I was writing about Michael's eight-month milestone, and tonight I'm reminiscing about Abby's.

Interestingly, I did not take any official "month" pictures in July of 2011. Well, not posed ones, anyway. I don't particularly remember my reasoning, but imagine that it came down to a) the fact that I was eight weeks pregnant with Michael at the time, and not feeling too great the vast majority of the time and b) on the morning of her eight month anniversary, I caught Abby doing something really cute, and thought it would be a fresh take on her "month" pictures to capture candid shots of her in the midst of it, rather than posed ones on the chair.

Her novel bit of cuteness was turning over her play mat on its side, and creating a little tent reminiscent of a homemade fort. Here are my favorites of the set:

And, one last picture from that day: Abby's first introduction to spinach.

Can you tell that she loved it?

A couple of days later, because I can never resist it when there's a "little baby in a big bed," I took this picture of Abby napping.

Normally, her naps took place in her crib, so while I don't remember the details of that particular day, I am quite sure that it involved some kind of nap time drama. It was on the days that she put up the biggest fights that I would give in and take her into the bed with me, where I could lie with her until she fell asleep, rather than wrestling with her in my arms or trying to soothe her by leaning over the crib bars. Both of the latter strategies became increasingly impossible for me to carry out as my pregnancy progressed. I'm not sure how she ended up on a pillow- I always moved those out of the way, but possibly, I was too tired that day- but, rest assured, I kept a close eye on my sleeping beauty as she slumbered away.

And here are some pictures from July 21st, the only other day that I pulled out my camera that month. My early pregnancy with Michael was tough on me; the exhaustion and nausea were, at times, pretty crippling.

This was Abby's first interaction with Mets Bear. We'd had him lying around the apartment for awhile, but for some reason, it hadn't occurred to us to give him to her until that day.

 They were fast friends.

Just as her brother is doing now, Abby began spending much of the month assuming the crawl position, and rocking back and forth from it. On this particular day, she gave me several opportunities to take some pictures of her progress.

Initially, she wasn't particularly motivated.

She pulled herself up...

...and decided that really, she preferred the floor.

A few minutes later, she was at it again, but that attempt ended in frustrated tears.

At this point, I turned her attention, instead, to the sofa, as I often did when she began to straighten her legs, rather than bending her knees. After all, that particular leg motion was necessary for pulling up, but wasn't going to get her anywhere with crawling.

She needed my help to get there, but once she was up- she was up.  And proud to be so.

And her hard work paid off, in the end. According to my shoddy records (for which I owe all of my thanks to old Facebook statuses that I can look up with ease on my timeline), just five days later she was crawling around the room. It was a drag-along-the-floor, army crawl-type movement that put me in mind of an inchworm losing a battle to gravity, but it did the job.

Not too long after, she was cruising, as well.  But that is a story for another week, and a different month.