Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gracie's 11 Months and Her First Christmas!

I adore this picture of Gracie. It shows just how much she has grown and changed since her tiny 5.6 pound body in April. She is so beautiful and incredibly energetic and curious. This picture was taken on Dec. 17, just a few days before she turned 11 months. Can't believe we will be celebrating her 1st. birthday in a few weeks!

As for the rest of the pictures... they are all out of order. In fact, if you scroll to the bottom of this post and work up, the pictures will be more chronological. We spent several days in east TX with Billy's parents right before Christmas. I blogged in more detail about that trip on our family blog: And then we came home and had Christmas as a family in San Antonio on Christmas morning. Christmas afternoon we welcomed a Burmese refugee family in our home that Billy has been working with for 2 years now. They have 4 beautiful children and we had a fabulous Christmas evening with them. That's where the pictures start - Christmas evening with Rolen and his family:

From left to right: Rolen Sah, Samoowah, Dahlaymoo, Shelly, Clay and Tyler

Tyler (such a cutie!) wanted his picture taken with Gracie. He and his brothers are AWESOME kids! So well behaved and polite. They even washed their own dishes after they ate dinner!

Christmas morning... Libby helped Gracie open all her presents.

Libby is such a great big sister. She took time to explain each gift to Gracie rather than opening and playing with her own presents.

Gracie - about to open her goodies!

As soon as the girls arrived in the living room (where all the presents are) Libby grabbed a few of Gracie's new toys that weren't wrapped and started showing Gracie how to play with them. Libby wasn't even thinking about herself and her own gifts. I was so impressed! Here Libby is showing Gracie the pretend lipstick in her new purse.

Every Christmas I like to take pictures of the girls before they see their presents. I like the excitement in their early morning eyes!

First thing Christmas morning! Good morning Gracie Lu!

Gracie's presents (the bows and the wrapped presents and the purse were new, but the rest were Libby's toys that were so brand new looking we just "re-gifted" to Gracie. I laugh about the Nutramigen on display, but truly that stuff is so expensive that it was part of her Christmas gifts!

Our Christmas morning set-up! Taken Christmas Eve while the girls were sleeping.

The Christmas tree with the gifts for the Burmese.

Gracie's new walker given to her by her sweet Puma and Larry!

Christmas Eve day. Love that smile!

Gracie's first trip to Longview. She enjoyed her Papa Boots very much. Here we were driving through Santa's Wonderland of Lights.

Gracie and Grammy enjoying a cuddle.

Libby, Gracie and Brooke in their Christmas red.

Grammy gave her granddaughters matching pjs. SO CUTE!

Gracie received plenty of attention and playtime.

Grammy and the girls.
Grammy, Papa Boots and Gracie (Libby was the photographer)

Aunt Wendy and Gracie. Gracie loves her Aunt Wendy!

Pictures of the girls in Christmas dresses a few days before our trip to Longview.

Gracie's first Christmas dress - it was Libby's first too!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

10 Months (and more!)

Gracie has been 10 months since November 22 and I'm just now getting around to updating you. The reason... SHE IS CRAWLING EVERYWHERE and from the moment she started crawling she turned into the most curious, aware, adventurous little girl. Libby never tried to play with electric outlets or eat bugs off the floor, but Gracie is a whole new experience. She is social, curious, active and FUN! Translating to less time on blogs, emails and phone.

Gracie is such a joy. Her smile just beams straight from her eyes to her grin and from ear to ear. She loves her big sister tremendously and when she sees her daddy - WATCH OUT. She leans toward him and smiles so big! She's in love!

She still has rolls all down her thighs, but she does seem to be trimming up a bit now that she is so active. We've also dropped down to 4 bottles of 5 oz. each which means 10 oz. less than she was taking 2 months ago. Gracie loves fruit. Veggies are okay and bland oatmeal is less than desirable. We have a sweet tooth on our hands - again, much different from Libby who eats any veggie we put in front of her. Gracie is learning to use a sippy cup with no problem. She's a fast learner who uses her sign language for "more", "eat" and "all done" often.

Gracie won't sit still for me to read books, clip fingernails or anything else that takes more than 30 seconds. I used to read to Libby for an hour without any thought of her slipping away. Again, complete opposites! I'm not sure there is anything I can do to make her still for reading or fingernail clipping, but if anyone has advice I'm listening... uh, reading.

One thing I LOVE is that every evening when Gracie is winding down she will sit on my lap facing me and lay her head on my chest. I love that cuddle time. She lays there for a second or two and then sits up and then lays back down and repeats that over and over because, of course, even when she's tired she can't sit completely still. But even though she is so active she is a GREAT, EASY baby. She's laid back emotionally speaking. While she is definitely attached to me, she does not seem traumatized when I walk away like Libby would often seem. As long as Gracie is not sleepy, hungry or bored, she is happy and self-entertaining.

While the girls are such opposites, I couldn't love either of them more! They are each such perfect gifts from the Lord that make my life feel so fulfilling! I am so happy being a mom to my girls!!

Oh, last update. Gracie finally got to meet our Somali friends, refugees in our city that we have mentored in the past. The Somali girls loved Gracie and had a lot of fun trying to explain our adoption to their parents who couldn't believe we traveled to Africa. They want us to come back and bring our pictures. That will be fun!

So here are a few pictures taken in Gracie's 10th month!

Introducing Gracie to our Somali friends!

She adores her big sister

I love her little, chubby feet!

Gracie with Papa.

tea time

The perfect present!

I love this picture of the girls together!

And this one too!

Libby on the day of her school Christmas program

Libby wore this dress on her first Christmas with us. Now its Gracie's turn. So cute!

Couldn't get a still shot that day, but cute anyway!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Happy Nine Months!

Gracie turned 9 months this week. She also had her 9 month checkup in which she weighed in at 20.3 pounds!!!! She's moved to the 75th percentile in weight and the 50th percentile in height. The growth chart usually looks like a curve shape, but Gracie's is a straight slightly diagonal line up! She amazed her doctor with her growth. God is so good!

Gracie is so close to crawling. She is getting up on all fours and rocking back and forth. She's starting to wave at people. She LOVES to eat! She is occasionally signing "more" - but usually she just screams for me to give her another spoon full. Gracie gets around by either rolling or doing a backwards slide/crawl. When she wants to move forward to grab a toy she gets up on all fours and then pushes back. When she realizes that she is getting further away from the toy she starts crying. She just can't figure out how to move forward.

This month we are going to be working on Gracie getting into the sitting position from the tummy position and we will continue to work on her crawling and pulling up. But, really, she is relatively caught up and will not need physical therapy for much longer.

Libby is so wonderful with her. When we greet Gracie in the morning Libby asks to give her "boogerbears" which is Libby's word for a nose rub - or what we used to call Eskimo kiss. She holds Gracie's hand in the car. She watches Gracie for me if I need to step out of the room for a minute. She tries to fix her hair - with a bristle brush - NOT the best choice for Gracie's hair, but Libby loves to make it big and frizzy.

Gracie is sleeping through the night with no bottle and virtually no crying out either. She knows how to put herself back to sleep. Every now and then she will wake up and sing to herself. She continues to match our pitch or repeat a sound she hears. Billy is sure she will grow up to be a singer. Gracie also cut her bottom, front two teeth this week. I can tell its been painful, but still she is sweet and content as ever.

Gracie also continues to make her shy smile which continues to make everyone else melt with love for her.

So - here's what you want to see... Pictures!

Billy takes care of bottle time!

At Libby's soccer game the weather was cooler than expected. I didn't have a hat for Gracie so I took a burp cloth and a headband and made a turban for her - a very sassy turban!

Play time is hard work, mom.

Completely kissable!

Papa Graham and Gigi came to visit us for a week! The girls LOVED having time with them. When we travel to Charleston there is always so much going on between cousins, aunts, uncles, great grandparents, grandparents, friends that the girls rarely get to be alone with Papa and Gigi. Their visit was so wonderful as the girls really got to know and enjoy them on a whole new level. We are so happy Papa and Gigi came!

Gigi holds Gracie.

The heart-melting smile!

Head banging pumpkins.

Sniffing pumpkins!

Big sister holding pumpkin.

Chubby tummy next to chubby pumpkins.

The sweetest, easiest baby in the world.

Smiling Sisters