Friday, December 30, 2011

December Fun

I have been very blessed to enjoy a lot of time off from work this year during the Christmas/New Year's holidays. It has been really nice to have a little extra time to try out some new recipes and to be slightly less frantic about all the Christmas preparations. This year Jeremy and I went to see "The Nutcracker" Ballet Dec. 22nd. I really wanted to take Emily, but the start time was 7:30 and I just didn't think we would enjoy it as much if we were worried about outbursts, fatigue melt-downs, etc. I know Emily would have loved the music and pretty ballerinas so next year we will have to do it! My father-in-law works part-time as a floor manager at the KY Center so one of the "perks" is being able to get free tickets every so often. Nancy babysat Emily for us that night so Jeremy and I were treated to a really nice date night for only $7 (parking).

Mom and Dad came up to visit us on the 23rd (my birthday). It had been awhile since they had had some quality time with Emily and so we were content to stay at home and play for most of the day. I treated myself to a manicure at my favorite spot in the Highlands while Emmy napped. That night all of us met Nancy and Don at Havana Rumba for some yummy Cuban food. The food was good, but the restaurant was terribly noisy. We couldn't even carry on a conversation! I chose that restaurant because I knew that it had good food and it was casual enough that no one would be bothered by a toddler during dinner. For sure no one was bothered by Emily because I could barely hear her while she ate right next to me! The place was that LOUD! We had dessert back at our house that night and opened up b-day gifts.

Earlier this month, we took Emily to the Santa Safari at the zoo. Originally, we were going to see the Kalightoscope with the Ryan family who also have a little girl Emmy's age, but they had to cancel last minute as their daughter was sick. Since we we had seen Kalightoscope last year, we decided to try out the zoo event. Basically, the zoo event was a big group of parents/children in a large room with lots of people in costume (elves, Santa, Mrs. Claus, Frosty, penguins, etc.) They provided a snack and a craft. Later, the children could sit on Santa's lap for a photo if they liked. Well, Emmy did NOT like the characters. She was very timid and placed her little head on Dad's shoulder for a good portion of the time. Later, we got her to eat her cookie and do her craft, but when I asked her if she wanted to sit in Santa's lap, she said, "No, I wanna go see the polar bears." We are NOT one of those parents that force the Santa issue and send our crying, terrified child on Santa's lap for the sake of a photo. If Emmy didn't want to sit on Santa's lap, that was that. Luckily, the zoo has many things you can enjoy during the winter months. We made our way through the zoo's heated buildings and enjoyed the other events that were set up for the "safari" (e.g. various child friendly exhibits where children could see and touch small animals and learn about different topics.) Of course, Emmy really just wanted to see the polar bears as she patiently repeated to us several times. We bundled up and made our way to the polar bear and seal lion exhibit. It was a sunny winter day and it was really nice to get out and stretch our legs.

On a side note, one of the Louisville zoo's polar bears has major issues. He has some kind of tic that makes him walk several steps forward, then shake his head side to side while walking back to his starting point. He repeats this pattern over and over and over again. Does this every time we're there. We think he might have some "coping issues." I would love to see that great big beast jump into the water and swim in the huge tank that is right before our eyes, but nope. He just paces and paces. The new polar cub is way more fun to watch and that is what entertains us most of all.

Friday, December 16, 2011

First Potty Poo

So for weeks now, Emily has been able to peepee on her little potty pretty regularly, but has been really hesitant to poop on the potty. Lately, she will even go to the bathroom, shut the door, and poop in her diaper and then come tell me to change her (or take her own diaper off if you don't come fast enough!) I knew she was getting pretty close to learning to go on the potty. Well, she finally did it yesterday!

Funny thing is that she has been sick since Tuesday--high fever, runny nose--doctor said it was a virus so we've been waiting for it to go away. Little girl hasn't been feeling well so I really haven't been pushing her to use the potty, but I will take her when she asks. Yesterday, she said she needed to go to the bathroom. She shuts the bathroom door and tells me, "No mommy, I do it myself." I'm thinking, "great, she's going to make a mess", but I respect her "privacy" and kind of listen and keep the door cracked. She's so dang independent already.

Several minutes later I hear the potty bucket hitting the toilet and I'm concerned that she's trying to dump out the contents. I walked in and saw that Emmy did her #2 business in the little potty and was trying to put it in the toilet to flush. I was so proud and happy! Of course I made a really big deal about her going in the potty for the first time and gave her a special treat. Then, we called Daddy and the grandparents to let them know that Emily did her first poo poo in the potty.

We still have a LONG way to go with potty training, but it is good to see her making connections and understanding. Toddlers get so busy and distracted that it is hard to remember to make them go regularly. After the holidays, I'm hoping to stay home with her for a few days and do a potty "boot camp" (ie. no pull-ups or diapers during the day and only use training panties.) It will be hard, but I think we will make faster progress that way. We'll see....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Sweetheart

Emmy has been a little under the weather today, but instead of being a cranky sick kid. She's been a doll. She's been less active and WAY more mellow. She woke up with a high fever and since we are so close to Christmas and have lots of plans, I wasn't waiting around to see if it would go away. I thought she might have an ear or sinus infection since she's had a runny nose for a few days. So, I took her to the doctor. She was well behaved at the doctor's and didn't cry at all (unlike last time when she screamed bloody murder as soon as he walked in and tried to touch her.) When Dr. B. asked what was wrong, Emmy says, "I gotta runny nose." This morning she told me, "I don't taste [food], mommy."

Everything checked out OK at her doctor's appointment so for now, it looks like a 2-3 day virus with high fever that's been making the rounds around town. Tonight we we were all in her bedroom winding down for the evening and checking out which books to read. Out of the blue, Emmy says, "TuTu mommy." (Emily speak for "Thank you.") I asked her several times, "for what, Emily?" And she kept saying, "tutu mommy" and finally added, "for our pretty house." Well, I pretty much melted right then and there. My doll baby was THANKING me for our pretty house. And Dad was sitting right there, too, but she directed it to me--like she knows that Mom does most of the cleaning and decorating and picking up, etc. That little compliment makes all of the dragging up of boxes from the basement, putting up the tree and decorations, researching which lights to get for the windows and outside, shopping for all the presents, and cooking all the special little Christmas treats totally worth it. I want her to grow up in a pretty, happy home and always remember that Christmas was a special time of year in our home.

Little girl got spoiled a bit tonight and I rocked her to sleep while singing all of my favorite Christmas carols.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Every year this happens. I refuse to put away my fall/Thanksgiving decorations until after Thanksgiving, but then I feel "behind" the next day when I don't have anything up for Christmas. Kind of an impossible task, but that is how I usually feel! We are still working on getting everything decorated. Hopefully, tonight we can get some ornaments on the tree! This year I was off work for my usual 4 day weekend and it was wonderful to have so much time with family. We spent Thanksgiving in Louisville this year. Jen, Ed, and Elizabeth were in town for a visit. We usually only see them for Christmas, but this year they came up for Thanksgiving instead. (The timing worked out better since Jen was just returning from a business trip and her parents had watched Elizabeth for her.) Nancy said it was the first time in 6 yrs that Jen and Ed had been home for Thanksgiving, so it was definitely a treat to have them home. I tried out two new recipes (for me) which I don't necessarily recommend doing on Thanksgiving day, but it worked out OK. I made a homemade pumpkin pie and a wonderful cranberry/fruit salad. We celebrated Ed's 35th birthday on Friday with another big meal and cake. It was a good eating weekend and my mother-in-law worked her butt off to make everything nice and special.

We haven't been to Bowling Green to visit the Lee family yet. I'm really missing my little nephews right now! I had enough time off to be with both families, but we are kind of on call right now waiting to visit Bowling Green once we get the word that our niece has been born. So, we decided to wait until then. (Becca is due Dec. 4th.) Also, Karrie McKinnon and I went to Ashland for the day to see our friend, Misty, who is 7 months pregnant and looking adorable! It was a LONG day in the car Sunday, but Karrie and I chatted the whole time and really got a chance to catch up with one another. I was very happy we were able to take special gifts to shower Misty. Just wish her parents lived closer so we could all get together every time she was in KY.

Our family has so much to be thankful for this year. Happy Thanksgiving!

Not liking the sweet potato casserole, but it was SO GOOD!

Our sweet girls!

Trying for a Christmas card photo--what a challenge with these squiggly, wiggly girls!

Happy Elizabeth is pretty photogenic!

Elizabeth loved to watch Emily and would laugh at almost anything she did!

Kisses for cousin "EB"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

California Vacation

Jeremy and I took our first long vacation without Emily from September 24th-29th this year--five nights away from our little girl. I was hoping to talk Jeremy into six nights, but he only wanted to be away four nights, so we compromised. I knew that it took me 33 years to visit California for the first time and I didn't know how long it would take us to get back so I really wanted to see and do as much as possible. We briefly though about taking a trip to an all-inclusive resort like we did on our honeymoon, but decided instead to visit a new part of the country (for us). I'm glad we did this trip, but I will say that I probably planned too much into a short trip, but I don't regret any of it!

First Day in SF. Fisherman's Wharf. Alcatrez in background.

Alamo Square (The Full House Intro. shows them having a picnic here.)

Day 2 of exploring San Francisco included riding another cable car (SO FUN!) This time, we knew what we were doing and didn't wait in line at the end of the line. We caught a cable car really fast just a few blocks away from our hotel. We rented bikes for most of the morning/afternoon--probably the best bike ride of my life. This is a great way to see the city. We biked all over the water front and Presidio district. We had lovely views of the Golden Gate Bridge for most of the time. We were amazed at how close Alcatrez is to the city, yet how treacherous it would be to swim it! My only regret is that I didn't book Alcatrez tour tickets sooner because it was booked the day we wanted to go and we didn't want to rearrange our trip schedule just for that one tour. I hear it is awesome, so we will have to do it one day. We enjoyed a leisurely day of sightseeing and then turned our bike in and headed back to the hotel. We had Giants tickets for that night! Jeremy scored awesome tickets that were two rows back right by 3rd base. We literally could look to our right and see inside the the Giants dug-out. Too bad I wasn't a Giants fan and didn't know any of the players. I think I would have been very starstruck if it had been the Cardinals, Yankees, or Red Sox! The game was fun and my baseball loving husband was in heaven. (I actually think he took more photos of the game than he did of Big Sur!) We walked all the back from the game to our hotel which was two miles! Luckily, we were dressed comfortably and had good walking shoes. We took a bus to the game and would have taken a taxi home, but there were so many people leaving the game that we just started walking and next thing we knew, we were too close to hail a cab.

A view looking back at the city during our bike ride.

The Iconic Golden Gate

Chrissy Beach

This was the view to the right of our seats. We were that close.

Here we are steps away from our seats! Had to watch out for foul balls!

Day 3 was supposed to have been wine country day, but I also really wanted to go see Muir Woods National Monument redwood forest. Everyone had told me that it was awesome and we should go. It was only about 12 miles from San Francisco. The plan was to do that in the morning and go to 1-2 wineries in the afternoon. We got a little bit of a late start due to needing to pick up a rental car. Also, the road to Muir Woods, while close to San Francisco, was incredibly curvy. I didn't think we would ever get there. We enjoyed a beautiful, crisp morning walk in the quiet of the trees. I could have stayed there all day and hiked a longer trail, but we also wanted to check out wine country while we were so close. It is hard to describe Muir Woods. The trees were not quite as wide as I had imagined, but they were so tall! I think I lost all sense of "normal" tree proportions because I was surrounded by massive trees. The woods felt quiet--kind of mystical--like a fairy tale. W found it interesting that world leaders had once gathered there for a peace conference (United Nations 1945 after 2nd World War.) It wasn't hard to understand why that site was chosen. I felt thankful that someone had the foresight to save these ancient forests and also felt a bit worried that they would all be gone one day.

Smile Jer! :) I promise he had fun.

After spending time at Muir Woods that morning, we headed to Glen Ellen in Sonoma County to tour the Benziger Family Winery. My guide book said it was supposed to be a well rounded tour and it is interesting that is family run and they pride themselves on using organic, sustainable farming practices. We lucked out and made it in time for the last tour of the day. The tour was very thorough taking us through the vineyards for a taste of the grapes right off the vine, to the areas where they crush and ferment the grapes, through the wine caves where they store hundreds of barrels, and ended with several wine tastings. I bought two bottles to take home with us. It was a great tour and I'm so glad we were able to visit a winery. After our tour, we decided to drive through Sonoma and Napa on our way to Yountville for dinner. While we saw some beautiful scenery, I often thought, "this isn't any prettier than Kentucky." I guess vineyards are just classier and sexier than wheat and corn, but I honestly think that farm land can be beautiful no mater the crop. Yountville is a charming town in Napa county and we enjoyed our dinner at Hurley's. The atmosphere was very nice without being too stuffy or fancy (still expensive of course.) I loved that our table was outside on the courtyard. Our time in wine country was entirely too short. That evening we drove back to San Fran which was a little over an hour away. However, we took a LONG detour home when we veered the wrong direction after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. It took us forever to figure out how to get back to Union Square because it was impossible to make a simple turn around (e.g. construction, tunnels, etc.) We were so happy to get back to our hotel that night!

Getting ready to walk into the wine caves that were drilled into the hillside.
Constant temperatures year round without paying for the energy bills.

We checked out of our San Fran hotel the next morning and headed south to Monterey. We stayed at the Clement Intercontinental that was right on Monterey Bay and in the heart of Cannery Row. We loved this hotel. I was pretty proud of myself for scoring a room upgrade for no extra charge. We spent the whole afternoon driving down the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur. It was just one breathtaking view after another. We rented a convertible for the day because we knew the views would be fabulous. We got a little scared as we saw the fog rolling ing, but it cleared for most of the day. Thank God! It was odd how the fog would come and go. I could easily have spent another day in this part of the state. (Jeremy should have listened to me!) I would love to come back and see Yosemite, drive down more of the Pacific Coast HIghways, and hike in Big Sur. I hope we get to do it one day. Maybe we will even take Emily with us next time.

We met some Southerners (and SEC fans) that gladly took this photo for us!

Bixby Bridge

Our ride.

The walk down to Pfeiffer Beach (2 miles from Highway 1) Temperature dropped like 20 deg.!

Pfeiffer Beach is known for its purple sand. You can see it just under the surface sand.

Another ridiculous view.

One of the fun things we did thanks to our i-phone technology was send Emily video messages while we were gone. We sent one to her with Golden Gate Bridge in the background, one with a vineyard in the background, and one with ocean/cliff views behind us. We loved telling her what we were doing and that we loved her and missed her. Mom said that she liked our messages and would try to talk back to us like we could hear her. Emily was a good girl and she slept, napped, and ate well for Nan and Pop. Mom said that she would play with her dolls to act out her feelings. She would have her dolls say, "I miss my Mommy, I miss Daddy." I thought that this was sweet and also kind of sad! But, I didn't feel too bad because Emily had a great week with her extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and great grands! She played with cousins Hunter and Cooper a lot, visited a farm and petting zoo, and took a trip to the library. Every time we called to check in, she was busy doing something and I think that made the week go well for her. We feel so blessed to have been able to take an amazing trip and rest every night in full confidence that she was well taken care of by my parents.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


This is going to be an ongoing list of cute and funny words and sayings of Emily.

Dinkney--what she calls Jeremy's mother

Oh man!--usually said in frustration or when she wants to be funny (leaves off the "n" at the end)

Wait a minute!

behney--banana. Very hard to understand this one, but she definitely knows what she wants.

viney--vitamins--loves her gummy vitamins and asks for them regularly which is a nice reminder for me! :)

SO MUCH!--started saying when we asked her, "how much does mommy and daddy love you?" She spreads her arms out wide, too.

"Big mess"--likes to say this when she sees something messy and her favorite explanation for why she is in time out. Me: "Why did Mommy put you in time out? Emily: "Because I made a big mess."

pony--as in what she calls a ponytail hairstyle or the rubber band to hold in place the "pony."

school bus--Emily calls all buses "school bus", including the city's TARC buses.

houk--house--for some reason, Emily likes to replace the "s" sound with "k."



sunnys--sun glasses



boonies--breasts (haha!) At least if she starts talking about boonies in public, they will have NO IDEA!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Loving our Two Year Old Big Girl!

Where has the time gone? Our little girl is two years old. Really? Actually, she is already over 25 mon. old, so I had better write down a few thoughts about the blink in time we are currently enjoying.

We were in Bowling Green the weekend after Emily's birthday and so we decided to let a local friend/photographer take Emily's photos. It worked out well since we were there anyway for my high school reunion. I like to bring Jeremy with me for Emily's photos because it is hard to manage her on my own on "photoshoot" days. Emily is an inquisitive little one and likes to run around and explore. It is next to impossible to have her sit for any length of time for a photo. And if she is sitting, then she is looking down, not smiling, or fussing because she doesn't want to sit, etc. I have a whole new appreciation for the patience of a good children's photographer. Anyway, let's just say that I'm glad that Jeremy was with me to help. The owners of Limestone Lake Photography have known my family for years so it was joy to introduce Emily to Sheryl and John. Here's a few low res. images Sheryl let me use for facebook/blogging purposes.

Tiny Dancer

Emily enjoys sitting on the dock and "reading" a book.

We weren't planning on being in the photos, but decided we would jump in anyway!

Emily was VERY hesitant to sit at the edge of the dock (and so was her mommy!)

A sweet smile here...

Emmy Reiss is 2!

I will leave today's post with a few new developmental milestones.

Gross Motor:

Galloping (like a horse through the house, especially when she is happy!)
Jumping (getting air now with both feet!)
Ascends/descends stairs. She has descended stairs facing down since May, but we now feel comfortable enough to let her do this even if we aren't directly supervising.
Directs play with "ring around the rosie."
Climbs up her daddy's legs and chest. He is standing and holds her hands, and she can walk up to chest level!
Can walk on her hands for about 6 steps if you are supporting her legs.

Fine Motor:

Using spoons/forks more regularly. Picks up small pieces of food to put on her fork!
Uses a brush to paint.
Requests to "draw" frequently with whatever is available.
Can undress herself, including diapers, socks, shoes.
Can donn socks and simple slip-on shoes or flip-flops


Counting from 1 to 11.
Recognizes letters and knows several by name or sound.
Sings the "ABC song" with an Emmy twist (ABCD, ABC, ABCD, ABC, ABCD, ABC, etc. to the tune.)
Knows several basic colors (Red, blue, yellow, green, black, white, pink, purple, orange)
Imaginative play with baby dolls, in her kitchen, with cars/trains, etc.
Sings songs with hand motions. ("If you're happy and you know it" and "Wheels on the Bus" are favorites)
Vocabulary is continuing to grow like crazy.
Talks on the phone more coherently and appropriately to loved ones.


Fake cries to get what she wants. Shows us a fantastic pouty lip.
After time out, she can tell us (with prompting) what she did wrong.
Says "please", "Thank you", "Bless you" and "Excuse me" sometimes even UN-prompted!
Very affectionate with big hugs, kisses, requests to "hold me mommy"
Wants both mommy and daddy to read to her at night and will search the house for you if you're not there and say, "Come!"
Helps around the house. Helps Mommy put clothes in the dryer, throws away trash on floor, puts away parts of her messes in her room when asked and directed to do so.
Melt downs are usually related to hunger or fatigue (hey just like her daddy! just joking.)
Getting more fixed on wanting certain things, but is still fairly easily distracted away from it.

Sleep Schedule:
9pm-7:30. I hope to move her bed time back to 8:30, but summer time got the best of us! Jeremy enjoys the extra time wtih her after work. If she wakes up at 6 or 6:30, she comes to bed with us and after a quick wet diaper change, she cuddles and sleeps with us another 1- 2 hrs. We start winding down for bed at around 8pm with bath, reading time. etc.
Naps: 1:30-3:30 or 4pm.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Emily!

Enjoying homemade cupcake from her mommy.

Very seriously studying her new DVD.

Smiling as she checks out the gift from her friend, Kennedy.

Our not-so-successful attempt to get a photo of all the kids--still missing is Cooper, Hunter, Elizabeth and Jackson.

A rare photo opportunity with all of her aunts and uncles.

Playing with Daddy's hair while he makes silly faces!

The Reiss family

The Lee Family

Em's little boy cousins, Cooper and Hunter.

Having a rowdy, fun time!

Emily and Kennedy checking out the block in the new ride.

Our baby turned 2 on Monday! Where has the time gone? At her 2 yr. check-up, Emily weighed 27 lbs. 9 oz. and she is 34 1/4 in. tall (~75% height; 50% weight). She is showing steady, consistent growth and meeting her age appropriate milestones. Dr. Lehocky also noted that Emily tends to toe in a little when she walks and he says that he sees this very commonly in kids her age. He encouraged us to avoid W sitting, sit with crossed legs to stretch and once she starts using her legs for bicycling and other activities, the muscle imbalances work themselves out. He said her legs were strong and straight and that she has good muscle tone. Yeah!

Emily's vocabulary and talking have exploded! I look back at how much she has learned in just a few months time, and it is amazing. She speaks to us in sentences all the time. She can repeat most anything we say although some of the syllables may not be exactly right! Emily was really into her party this year. She saw me bringing home shopping bags of decorative items and picking out her cake. She knew we were up to something! After a few weeks of reminding her about the party, Emily would start asking, "Where's my parney?" [parney = party] Imagine her shock and dismay when we celebrated Aunt Jen's party first! (the day before her party.) She was so confused, but since Jen let her have cake and help open gifts, she was pretty happy. My favorite quote was, "Jenny took my parney!" and that was said with quite the pouty face! Love her heart. It was pretty funny.

We celebrated Emmy's 2nd birthday on Saturday Aug. 6th a couple of days early. It was such a joy to be able to host our entire immediate family. It is rare that Jen, Ed, and Elizabeth are in town and able to party with us. Also, Laura and Will may be returning to the IMB eventually so it was wonderful to have all the siblings, cousins, and grandparents here plus many other special friends! Emily loved the balloons, cake, cupcakes, presents--pretty much everything! Even now if she sees something party related, she asks me about the "parney." Hate to tell her that you only get one a year! Here's a few photos of our special day!