Sunday, January 31, 2010

Puppy Love

We have the best dog. Not to disparage any other dog owners, but Callie never ceases to make me smile.

Since bringing home our new bundle of joy, our sweet puppy has not received the same level of attention she is used to. She has taken it in stride and rather than reacting jealously to this little creature who has upset her routine and stolen her human's time and attention, she has welcomed, inspected, protected and comforted our sweet baby. I am so proud of her and happy we have her. 

At first, Callie seemed cautious about touching the baby, always turning to look at us before getting close to her. Now, she walks right up and plants big, slobbery puppy kisses over Abby's face. Abby just smiles and stares at her new friend.
Callie is fascinated by everything Abby does. When I feed Abby, Callie sits right next to me and I can pat her head as Abby eats. First thing in the morning, Callie races up the stairs to see what Abby and I are doing in the nursery. Diaper changing time is anathema to her. She always wants to see what we are doing with "her puppy" when we put the baby on the changing table.
She also feels that covering Abby's hands is some form of torture. She constantly tries to pry the mittens off of Abby's hands.
If we leave Abby alone in a room other than the nursery, Callie lays right near her. She does not think that Abigail should EVER be left alone in her swing, car seat, or on the floor.
We love our little (for a lab) puppy and are so excited to see them play together as they grow up together.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In My Daughter's Eyes

Mr Darling and I recently discussed that the last few weeks (months?) have been really frustrating but also fairly fun. The things of the world are frustrating. The things that will last are fun. Lately, we love watching our new little angel grow and change. Her eyes have changed the most- they are always open and alert now!

Here she is with the giant bear her Woodruff grandparents gave her for Christmas. She is now six weeks old!

And she is growing so fast! Abby's favorite pink fuzzy suit (above), given to us by a lovely neighbor, no longer fits. I managed to stuff her into it yesterday, but then Mr. Darling informed me he didn't want his daughter showing off her shoulders just yet. I suppose it is time to retire it. That just means I get to start using the 0-3 month clothes, which will be fun.

She can focus on you when you call her name, and she loves to look around the room. She especially loves the painting in the living room, staring out bright windows and at Callie the Pup. She still loves bright lights. And her Daddy. She loves to smile at him and be held by him. I am only preferred when she is hungry. I try not to take it personally.

I don't think she is going to fit in the sink during my showers for very much longer. I can usually sit her in the sink (padded with soft towels and blankets) and turn on the lights. She stares and talks to the lights while I get clean, and informs me when she is ready for me to get out with a loud squeak.

I love her squeak.

Sometimes I miss the tiny, sleepy, unfocused baby. But I adore this funny, little, alert baby just as much. I have read many blogs, received so many emails, and endured endless comments on how this motherhood thing will just get more difficult, more thankless. I also receive comments from a different quarter telling me about how much fun this adventure will be and how much joy can be found along the way. Perhaps both are true, but I really hope that I can be the latter kind of person.

While it may be amusing to liken ourselves to being invisible, doing thankless, tiring work without recognition or acknowledgement, I don't think any mother really wants to be in that situation.

I am so grateful for my little girl. She really is a wonder to me. Watching her learn and grow is amazing. She is trying to make sounds and noises. For having no vocabulary, she is a fabulous communicator. She lets me know if she is cold, if she is hungry, if she is tired (I'll admit that this one is frustrating), or if she just wants to be held. Like any of us in a situation where we cannot communicate well, she loves routine and knowing what comes next.

So far, I enjoy being a mother .

I hope that Abby knows she is loved.

I hope that as she grows, we can become friends like I am with my mother.

I hope that she turns to her father and I with her problems rather than turning to the fugitive, frustrating, fickle world.

I hope that I can stay positive, remembering this is but a fleeting moment, gone too soon, and enjoy what is simply for what is.

Put simply, I hope.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On The Shelf

Many of you already know that I am a passionate reader. What many of you don't know is how with that  particular hobby comes a collection of books. What to do with all of them has baffled me for years.

Until Christmas, my books had lived in piles on the floor, tucked in the top shelves of closets and even at friends' house. I found lending books to be a form of storage.  I regularly went through my library and made painful cuts, donating those I didn't think I would read regularly or that I wouldn't want to share with my children to the library. Despite these sacrifices, the pile near the side of my bed grew and grew and grew.

I even tried purchasing bookshelves, but they never held very much and eventually they collapsed under the weight.

At Christmas, all that changed. My sweet father, in between watching my baby and doing the dishes, found time to build me these AMAZING bookshelves. Now, there is no scary pile threatening to mutiny if I don't pick them up and read them. He built one into each nook in our bedroom and now all of my books, even the tall music books, the bulky photo albums, and the necessary but not fun ones - yes, thesaurus, I am talking to you - have a home. All of my series can sit side by side and I can *actually find* what I am looking for!!!

So, thank you, wonderful father of mine. I love love love my Christmas present. And I am STILL so grateful for the help you were with my tiny baby.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Baby Of Mine

Today is Abigail's one month birthday. One month ago this morning we first met our little girl and fell instantly in love. I can't believe it has been this long. I can't believe she hasn't been with us forever.
We have learned so much about her in the last month. Mr Darling and I now know that you can spoil a baby by never putting them down. Abby can barely handle being put down for even 15 minutes. She LOVES to cuddle. If you put her head right over your heart, tuck her feet under her tummy and cover her with a blanket she will sleep like an angel. She doesn't prefer any one person. She just wants to be held and be warm.
She only cries if she has a reason. If I go through the normal checklist (hungry, diaper issue, cold, exhausted, wants to cuddle) and she still cries I am missing something.
She gives fair warning before she cries. If you don't pay attention to the little noises, she will scream like a banshee. Once she is screaming it is much harder to calm her down. She gets on a roll and won't pay attention to anything else. Her Grandparents and Daddy are the best at getting her to calm down once she slips into her angry screams.
She wants to move. All the time. I think she will be an even happier baby when she can finally move around on her own.
Right now, her favorite distractions are the ceiling fans and the lights. She LOVES lights. If you cuddle her in a place where she can see a light, she is simply mesmerized. I wonder if it reminds them of heaven somehow....

Mostly, I have learned that I can love this new little person. Happy One Month Birthday, Sweet Baby Abby. I am glad you are growing and I am excited to watch you change every single day!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Photographs and Memories

Our little lady has already had her first photo shoot. Abigail's excited daddy booked a session months before Abigail was born with the fabulous Katie at Peekaboo Photos. If you are expecting an addition to your family, she is a fantastic newborn photographer! Mr Darling and I are just so thrilled with how all of these pictures turned out, from the Princess and the Pea to classic family photos. You can find more pictures of our sweet Abby, as well as information on Peekaboo Photos here.
Behind the scenes, you will find hairdryers, space heaters, pacifiers and parents nervous that their little one will not cooperate.

Katie is super experienced and manages to keep Abigail warm and asleep for the entire 3 hour shoot!
Here are a few of my favorite results! Here I am with my little Baby Abby! She is already so much bigger and it has only been three weeks!
This is one of favorites. How she gets infants to sit like this is pure magic (and a little photoshop)
Here is our proud papa. He looks wonderful holding our baby girl! The resemblance is so uncanny. Abby has his nose and lips and when she smiles, it is all him!
I love this sweet shot! I guess I just want proof that she is a little angel. So sweet!
There are many more pictures, but blogger is so obnoxious that I will probably leave it at these few. I am glad that we were able to capture this unique time in her life on film! She is simply so much fun to hold and cuddle right now. Blogging with her snoring on my lap is a new addition to my list of favorite things. And three nights in a row now she has slept for a consecutive six hours. Of course, I don't sleep for six hours since I still hear her screaming in my sleep. I hope that hallucination passes soon!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Angels Among Us

I realized this morning that my house was blessed this holiday season with angels. I also had the unhappy realization that my angels have left.

With all of the company that we had in and out of our home and in Arizona with my husband's family, I was constantly in awe of what was accomplished while I slept. This morning I awakened thinking I heard Abby crying (a pretty common hallucination right now) only to check on her and find that she had a clean diaper, her pacifier and her sleep sheep on. The sleep sheep only runs for about 40 minutes, so some blessed angel had come in and taken care of my baby so I could sleep. I also found my house completely empty except for Weston, myself and sweet little Abby. Weston was sleeping and said it wasn't him. My wonderful mother must have done this chore for me before she left for the airport this morning.

The other night I despaired at my messy house, only to come down after feeding the baby at midnight and find the kitchen sparkling and my father wiping off the counter. In Arizona, I would find myself overwhelmed by Abby's crying, unable to figure out what was wrong, when my mother in law would sweep in, take and calm my baby so I could calm myself. I have come home several times to find that neighbors and friends have dropped off food, treats, and offers to help. How can I thank all of these wonderful people?!

I am so blessed and so grateful for this help. The introduction to parenting has been so much easier due to the amazing people I am surrounded with! With that in mind, I would like to throw a general thank you out to all of you. Even just posting happy thoughts in my comments has helped! So thank you, everyone!

Happy New Year to everyone and may your 2010 be blessed with angels, love, and hope.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

These Are Special Times

This New Year brought a much more meaningful fresh start for our family. Abigail Jean Woodruff received her Baby Blessing from her father on January 3rd. Our sweet baby Abby attended church dressed in a gown hand made lovingly for her by her Grandma. Many of our friends and family members were able to make the trip and come witness and assist in introducing and naming our little girl.

Watching friends and family stand in a circle around her and give her the first blessing of her life brought me happiness. Knowing that she is loved and surrounded by those who will set examples of the gospel principles, who will guide her down the straight and narrow path brings me unmeasurable joy.

On the morning of her blessing we had a brief breakfast before it was time to get Abby dressed and ready. Both of her grandmas helped in getting her ready. I even had time to quickly get my hair done.
Here is the entire family group who traveled from near and far. I was especially grateful that my mother and father were able to make their flights and that Mr Darling's parents were willing to make the drive from Arizona for the fourth time in as many months. It was wonderful to see our little girl surrounded by people who love her.

And further proof that Abby does, on occasion, fuss. After two solid hours of being passed around from person to person she resorted to her adorable little cry to try and motivate someone to (pretty please) feed her.
So her first white dress event has passed. The dress hangs on the nursery wall, a reminder of that special day. I know she can't remember the day of her blessing. I only hope that when she grows up she can look at the dress, the pictures and realize that she is loved, wanted and blessed by her family.