Friday, April 30, 2010

Did that really just happen?

I think it's safe to say that at some point in our lives, we all become jealous of someone or something. Naturally there are times when you desire something you don't have. Maybe it's wanting the big house of your dreams, a fancy sports car, a thin supermodel-like body, or something on a much smaller scale ... like the appearance of an online blog. A blog?! Really?!

I know. It's sad. But true. After following more and more blogs on a daily basis, I was starting to realize all the cute add-ons and customizations one could do with a blog. Carol had added the really cute button and fonts, Blair had just redesigned her whole blog, and others had fancy headers for their blogs. So, jealousy took over and I thought... hmm, what can I do to make my blog a bit more fun?!

So I began playing around with the design a bit. I created a new header (much cuter than before) and added a matching button successfully, or at least I think so! Then I followed directions on how to change fonts and this is where it got tricky. Too tricky. I was on the last step, way in over my head at this point, and the next thing I know my blog is gone. Template gone. Cute button and header gone. Posts gone. I FREAKED!

I knew there must be some way to fix it, but I got really worried. I have spent the last eight months blogging about all the ways our sweet little baby came in this world and changed our lives. Uploaded tons of pictures. Received and read wonderful comments on different posts. Then with one click (I guess?!) everything was gone. Once again, I FREAKED.

Thankfully after talking to a few people (thank you to Chris for giving me the hope I needed that all was not lost and thank you to Julie for taking the time out to talk to me), I realized my blog posts were still there. All my customizations were gone, but the most important thing, my writing, was not lost! Thank the Lord! Then later tonight, somehow (must be magic) I was able to completely restore my blog. So it's looking more like the old ... with a few new font colors. I am so very thankful and I learned a BIG lesson today. Jealousy is a waste of time (literally) and I'm appreciative for what I have! :) Now... does anybody know how to back up a blog?!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Welcome home Daddy!

After an eleven day roadtrip, I was overwhelmingly excited to have my hubby back home. It's always been hard to be away from each other, but it's even harder now with the whole parenting thing. While the hubs was gone, I had a few long nights when Abby was sick. She would wake up throughout the night and get up at the first hint of sunlight ready to play. Needless to say, lack of sleep was starting to get to me, but I hung in there and enjoyed the time with my little lovebug. We took the time to explore the city, hang out with friends, and visit with family.

It's the little things I take for granted when my hubby is around. (which isn't often now that it's baseball season) Simple things like ... how I'm able to take a twenty minute shower instead of a shower that lasts as long as singing the alphabet. Or helping me carry groceries from the car on the third floor to our apartment on the sixth floor.. sure beats me doing it with a baby on my hip. Been there. Done that. Not fun. Or helping with laundry or getting dinner on the table so we can eat before 8:30 for once. Even though I appreciate all that help, it all comes down to one real, simple thing ... someone else to keep Abby happy. Another set of arms to hold and cuddle her, another face to play with, and that happens to be someone that Abby loves very much... her Daddy!

I am very thankful to have a husband that provides for us, which allows me to stay home and take care of our little girl. He does a lot for us and though we both have to sacrifice some things during the baseball season, we are very blessed to have this life. I am proud to say this man is my husband and a wonderful father to our sweet little Abby Grace. Now if only Abby and I could get this man to wake up earlier while he's home, this life would be perfect. :)

Abby just loves her Daddy!! Playtime is always full of smiles and laughs.

My two favorite people.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sleepy Saturday ...

Thanks to Picnik, I was able to edit this picture of Abby. This website is awesome! Check it out, if you haven't already.

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Today has felt like one of those days ... a stay in your pajamas, lounge around, eat all kinds of chocolate (and sweet tea!) kind of day. It could be the rainy and cold weather, my level of tiredness, or that I secretly crave a day like this every once in a while. As you know, these days are hard to come by. It may be that a work schedule is too demanding or that you have cleaning that is way overdue ... or in my case, a baby that has other plans in mind! So that's why today only felt like one of those days.

Since Abby's plans weren't to watch movies all day or drool over the chocolate Mommy was eating (that wouldn't be fair!), we decided to venture out into the rainy, cold April weather. First stop ... Chic-Fil-A for sweet tea. A must. Next stop ... Kohl's. Aunt Jenny had bought Abby some things that needed to be exchanged for a bigger size (yes, it's true... she won't stop eating), so we exchanged those and did a bit more shopping while there. Oh yeah, also found chocolate! Then after grocery shopping for dinner, we headed home. Nothing too exciting, but still a fun time and we finally got to spend an afternoon with Aunt Jenny! :)

Tonight, Aunt Heather and Emily came down to visit. Abby was in such a happy mood, the happiest of the whole day! She was cooing, smiling, laughing and just loving time with her cousin... she just loves Emily! We had a great time playing and watching Abby do her new tricks.

Lately it seems like Abby does something new everyday and I'm loving it! Just last week, she fed herself finger foods for the first time. She is able to pick it up off the tray and put it in her mouth all by herself. Also last week, she slept on her tummy for the first time. She has always been a back/side sleeper, so it was super cute seeing her lay comfortably on her tummy. Yesterday, she signed "more" and actually did it at the right time. Today, she did it without me even signing it.... said the word, and she did it... again! She really knows how to sign for "more" food! Tonight, after watching Aunt Heather and Emily clap over and over, Abby clapped by herself.... for the first time. So cute!!! Even cuter (is that possible?!) is that she mimicked Aunt Heather and Emily saying "yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy." So Abby would clap those little hands of hers together and say "yayyyyyyyyyyyyyy." Absolutely ADORABLE!!!!! Not sure if I'm ready to believe it or not, but in just a few weeks, our little Abby will be crawling away. She took her first "scoot" forward and is really trying to lift herself into the crawling position. She is truly almost there. Yikes!

All of these "firsts" are so special ...It makes a day like today, when I just wanted to be lazy all day, so much better. It makes me appreciate the time that I get to have with this little baby I'm so lucky to call mine.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our Visit to Storyville

Yesterday, Abby and I got the chance to explore outside of the city. Thanks to Cara, a dear friend, we were able to find "Storyville." Storyville is an interactive early learning literacy center for children. They have activities, toys, and books for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. It's designed as a village, all in childlike proportions. After hearing all about it, I decided we should give it a try, so our friend Daniele came along and we headed outside of the city for some playdate fun!

We met Cara and her daughter, Kate at Storyville to play with Kate's children. Kate brought along her 3 year old daughter Keze and her 7 month old son Mac. Keze seemed to really enjoy the marketplace, where she could shop for her groceries and then check them out at the cash register. Inside the village was also a house, a construction zone, a theater for plays and puppet shows, a firestation, and much more! Storyville is such a great place for children to use their imagination!

Mac and Abby played mostly in the "Baby Garden." (pictured above) It is an area specifically for infants that are not walking yet. It had tons of toys, books, mirrors built into the floors, and life-like flowers to pull up on. It felt like you were truly enjoying a day in the garden! Abby had a lot of fun playing with new toys, reading books, and watching the other babies. I'm so glad we found Storyville (thanks Cara!) and can't wait to visit again.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lovebug turns 8 months old!

Happy eight month birthday Abby Grace! I know I say this every month, but time is really flying by. How is it possible for this little baby to already be eight months old? She is starting to have quite the personality these days, with more coos, smiles, and laughs than ever before.

With all that personality, Abby is now such a little busybody. She wants to see everything, get her hands on everything, and of course... wants to eat everything. Abby is still very content to just sit and play, or roll around to get from place to place. Just this past week, she has started to attempt crawling, but still isn't ready yet. Won't be long though... scary! Abby does a lot of "talking" and is even starting to mimic simple sounds or noises that I make. I love talking to her... in fact, I talk to her nonstop ALL DAY LONG. People must think I'm really crazy when I'm pushing the stroller and talking to her even though she can't see me. Although, in this city... I'm pretty sure anything goes!

At eight months old, I am realizing just how smart this little baby is. At this stage of development, Abby is starting to associate words with certain things and recognize certain objects. She recognizes the container her "Puffs" are in (yummy!) and the shake that comes along with it. As soon as she sees it or hears it, she will start to grunt, kick her legs and get her hands going. Abby also remembers that Grandad wears his military dog tags around his neck. He always wears them, but keeps them under his shirt. Abby loves to feel around for them until she finds them to play with. I can't believe she can recall that! Such a smartie!

Abby and I play with these stackable shapes everyday. They seem to be a favorite toy now, especially when I stack them and she knocks them down. She thinks that is so funny and it puts a huge smile on her face! We must stack them, knock them over, and say "uh-ohhhhh" a thousand times a day. Love it! I love everything about this little lovebug of mine. Most of all, I LOVE the way I kiss her cheek and then she smiles from ear to ear. That is the best. thing. ever.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Where are we?!?!

So why do they call Baltimore "Charm City?" Maybe it's the beautiful skyline, the old brick buildings, or the historical areas with lots of good food and shopping? I'm not really sure of the real answer, but undoubtedly Baltimore is a unique city with lots of charm. That's for sure. The home of the Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Ravens, tons of museums, and world recognized hospitals, this city has a lot to offer.

Along with the "charm" of the city, comes a lot of lifestyle changes for us. Before having Abby, things were a bit different. (in more ways than one) I could take the day to walk the city, spend hours shopping the day away, meet friends for lunch or dinner on a whim. Now with Abby, I'm realizing just how hard city life is... not to mention, the dog (poor Max) isn't even here with us yet. I just look at the city in a different light and want to make it the best for my little baby.

This past week has really made me realize the things that are sometimes taken for granted. Simple things. Walking out to our driveway isn't as easy anymore... I now have to walk to the elevator (and yes, it's a far walk...really), then go down to the third floor, out to the garage, then drive through a PACKED parking garage just to get to the alley that leads us out into the world. It's quite a production to get anywhere in the car. Target isn't just a 10 minute drive anymore, it's a drive that instead of making every weekend, I will make every 2 weeks. Getting the groceries inside the apartment is quite interesting too. Baby on the hip, load the stroller up, and go! I also miss having a park at the end of our street. Unlike at home, I can't just walk to the park everyday... I have to drive to get to a park. Even then, you have to be all eyes because of some of the shady characters that lurk around these parts. It's not bad, it's just different. I miss the silence at night when it's time to finally relax and go to sleep. Instead, I hear the towel bell ringing every hour, the trains coming through, loud people enjoying a night out on the town, sirens ... you name it, we hear it.

Really I'm not complaining about these things ... it just takes a lot of getting used to. The city is definitely going to offer a lot, especially as the summer weather arrives. We do have a lot of things within walking distance, which is always nice. I rather walk than drive in this city and it saves a lot of time! Our apartment has a nice pool that will open Memorial Day weekend. That will keep me and Abby busy ... I can't wait! Besides, it's not everyday you wake up to a mini parade of bagpipers right below you on the street. Abby loved that this morning!

Now that I have rambled on, I'm going to make this baseball season an adventure for us. I want to reach out and find new things to do. Libraries have a lot to offer children, even Abby's age ... the aquarium ... playdates with old friends. It will be a fun time ... just have to take it all in! :) Most importantly, our family is so blessed to have this opportunity! Go O's!

These pictures don't really match my post, but .... they are cute, and rather funny. Abby is just full of personality these days! Enjoy!

Abby posing with Teddy.
This bear is actually mine... Jim gave it to me a few years ago when he left for Spring Training.

Then she starts to topple over trying to move Teddy.

And this is how she falls. What a model!
Notice the crossed legs, finger in smiling mouth ... and of course, those chunky thighs takin' charge!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our Baltimore "Home"

For the next five (almost six) months, the Johnson family will be calling Baltimore "home." We are finally settled into our new place and getting back into the baseball routine. Jim's been quite busy with the opening week of baseball... day games, night games, breakfasts and luncheons with sponsors, etc... It's hard for me to adjust to our "season" life because "offseason" life is much more laid back and relaxing! So far, so good though. I'm really liking our new place and it feels a lot more cozy and welcoming this year. We have great skyline and water views, floor to ceiling windows in our living room, and a spacious layout with two bedrooms. Abby has her own nursery here, which I have already decorated for her!

Abby and I have been to a few day games with family, but as for night games, I will have to go to those when I can get a babysitter. It's too difficult since Abby goes to bed so early and I'm not willing to mess with her bedtime. I've gotten used to having some "me" time at the end of each day! Nana and PopPop came to visit for the weekend and helped us unpack and get settled. Grandad and Gramma also helped prior to actually moving in. Thank God for family! Abby and I have been taking daily walks around the city and she just loves it. There is so much to see! We are going to find a playground this week, hopefully within walking distance. Jim goes on the road Wednesday for the longest road trip of the season. 11 days! I'm not looking forward to this, but I will find things to do to keep me busy. Baltimore has a lot to explore! :)

Another view from our place. Love the water!

Abby's Nursery

"Where are we Mommy?"
Abby likes to sit in front of the windows.

"Wow, that's a BIG city out there!"
Love her eyes in this picture. She is really looking down!

Having fun with Grandad after a game.

Abby's face after trying blueberries for the first time!
Mouth open wide... ready for more... blueberries are a hit!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Best Buds :)

Just before leaving Sarasota, Daddy and I had quite the photo shoot with two adorable little babies. Hmm, who could they belong to?! Abby and Chloe are just five months apart (and yes, weighing almost the same), which makes it so easy for Carol and I to hang out and do all kinds of baby stuff. It's perfect actually. Best friends having best friend babies :)

At first, Abby didn't pay any attention to Chloe since she was still a teeny two month old when they met. However, now they watch each other and play nicely together. Well maybe not play just yet, but they are on their way! Abby and I really miss our friends and can't wait to see them again, hopefully soon!

Here are a few photos from the photo shoot. These babies are just TOO CUTE!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Abby's "School"

I've blogged a little bit about Abby's daycare here and there, but tonight I want to share what was so great about it! For those of you that don't know, Abby was going to daycare on Tuesdays and Thursdays to give me some "Mommy" days. These days gave me time to catch up on laundry, house cleaning, shopping, and meeting friends for lunch. It was these days that I could take a 30 minute shower without singing "The Wheels on the Bus" to entertain a bored baby or take a nap if I was overly tired (Okay, so I think I napped only once) and to basically recharge my batteries! :) Not only was this helping me, but Abby truly enjoyed being there. It was great for her to interact with other babies. Maybe they didn't talk or actually play together, but Abby had a lot to watch and just by watching other babies, was able to learn a lot.

I don't think of La Petite Academy as a daycare, since it's more like a school to me. Yes, they are watching Abby while I'm away, but they do so much with her, even as an infant. The infant room itself is full of toys, colorful walls, and bulletin boards that are often changed. Pictures are put up on the walls for parents to enjoy and see what their child has been up to. It's such an inviting place!

With the help of Abby's wonderful teachers (Ms. Katie is in the top picture), she would play with noodles (tactile learning), finger paint and make crafts for the holidays, practice tummy time, listen to music ... you name it, they did it. I love that the teachers are doing hands on activities with these children, at such a young age. It's so important for their learning development.

I've come a long way from that first day that I dropped her off at school. I was a mess ... it was all so new to me and I had never left her with people that I really didn't know. I called my mom right away, in tears, ready to turn the car around and go get that sweet baby. She told me to keep driving and that everything would be okay. Moms are always right ... I'm glad I did it and I'm truly going to miss Abby's school while we are in Baltimore. The good news is that we will be returning to La Petite in October! :)

Abby before going to school one morning.

A card given to Abby....

... from her friends at school!

This Easter craft was just too cute!

Abby's painted Easter egg :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Baby's First Easter :)

Abby's First Easter was such a special day. It was a day filled with family, tons of food, and absolutely gorgeous weather! Being around family on holidays makes the day even more special. I wish Jim had been here to celebrate with us, but baseball season is underway... and he was able to enjoy a nice dinner with some of his teammates. Not the same as being with family, but at least he was with good friends. Abby wore a dress that her Daddy bought for her before she was even born. Before Easter, he kept asking, week after week, "Can Abby fit in that dress yet?" Finally, it fits.... and it worked perfectly as an Easter dress. She looked so adorable ... Daddy, keep shopping for your little girl. You do a great job! :)

Abby's Easter Basket ...
Donald Duck was a gift from Nana and PopPop. She was scared of him at first but loves him now!

"Hmmm, what's in here?!"

Abby & Mommy

Love this picture!

Oops... what happened here?!

Such a sweetie :)

Playing with her new toys ...

Gramma, Grandad, & Abby
(Yes, Grandad is watching TV)

Abby even enjoyed Easter dinner... wink wink :)