Friday, December 28, 2012

Wishin' and Hopin'

Dear Mia,

Your birthday is right around the corner!  Here are some things your Dad and I think you would love!

We can't wait for your birthday, Mia!  It's going to be quite the event!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

On the move!

Dear Mia,

Well, you're mobile!  You army crawled for the first time at your Aunt Courtney's on Thursday, but you didn't show us your skills until yesterday.  You set your sights on a toy across the floor and there you went!

We laid a sheet out on the floor and covered it in toys.  You had a blast scooting around, going from toy to toy and (of course) putting them in your mouth!  Your favorite toys right now include the TV remote, blue monkey suction toy, light-up pianos, and multi-colored links.  You also love your little teethers, taggie blanket and your pacifier (which you can now pick up and put in your mouth all by yourself).  I've also noticed that you're growing tired of your old toys and you much prefer playing with new things.  I've started to rotate your toy selection, and just today I went fishing through your toy box and pulled out two little cars, some blocks and a shape sorter.  You really liked pushing the little car all around your high chair tray.

Your Grandma Young sent you two little books in the mail this week to celebrate your first Halloween and the first thing you did when you got them was put them in your mouth.  You opened one up and CHOMP! you left nice little teeth marks in the soft cover.  You also love to bite down on your spoon when we feed you now.  It's your new trick.

You are such a happy baby and you do so well on the floor with your toys.  I'm sure you're going to crawl more and more each day, and it's only a matter of time until you can speed across the floor faster than we can!  We're going to have to keep a closer eye on you now, baby!


Friday, October 19, 2012


Dear Mia,

You have two new teeth!  Your Dad and I were out at the mall tonight with your Aunt Courtney, Uncle Josh and Corbin, when you started munching on your Dad's fingers.  All of the sudden he yelped out, "OUCH!"  He pulled down your bottom lip and there they were, just two little white teeth sticking up from your gums!

You won't show them to us for long, and we can really only get a good look when we hold you upside down.  I'm sure they'll be nice and visible in no time, however.  We can't wait until you have a little toothy grin!

We love you, baby!

Monday, October 8, 2012


Dear Mia,

2012 marked the fourth year that your Daddy and I have visited Rader Family Farms in Normal, Illinois.  In 2009 we took Aaliyah and we underestimated how cold it could be out in the cornfield!  We ended up running out to the store to buy her a hat and gloves to wear!

We had SO much fun with Aaliyah that we talked everyone into going with us in 2010:

Then we went back again in 2011, this time you you still in my belly!

Which brings us to 2012 and the addition of you!  This was by far our busiest year, now that all of your cousins were old enough to do all of the farm activities.

I can't wait to see what this photo looks like next year!  You'll be a big girl and Josie will be there!  I'm already looking forward to it!


Rader Family Farm

Dear Mia,

This past weekend we took a trip to Rader Family Farms with the Snipes family and continued our annual tradition of fall fun during the Ropp Road Roundup!  You had a BLAST!

We started the day with lunch in LeRoy and then headed over to the farm.  It was a bit chilly so we had you bundled up for most of the day- pants, socks, slippers, sweater, wool hat, mittens and a fleece blanket!  We tried our best to keep you warm and then I made sure your bottles were nice and warm so those heated you up, too.

You're still a little small to fully enjoy all of the activities at the farm, but your cousins (and Daddy) had a great time on the jumping pillow, swings, bike race, corn bins and play houses.

You did get to go down the big slide, have your first hay rack ride and get your picture taken many, many times!

We were at the farm for almost six hours, and you were bright-eyed and in a great mood for most of it!  You love being outside, even if you're cold, and you had a great time watching all of your cousins run around and play.  At one point we were waiting for your cousins to go down the big slide and every time a kid popped out of the tube you'd squeal with excitement.  We can't wait to take you back to the farm again next year!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

7 Months

Dear Mia,

Phew, what a month!  You're still relatively immobile but not for long!  I think this time next month I'll be writing about how unprepared we were for a crawling baby!

There are a few things I've been forgetting to document, so here's a round-up of your current behaviors:  You can move easily from sitting to laying, and rolling all over the place!  You can maneuver yourself around on the floor (mostly sideways and in circles) but you're still working on forward movements.  You can pull your knees up, put your butt in the air, forehead on the carpet and rock back and forth.  Then when you get frustrated that the rocking isn't working, you flatten yourself on your belly, stick your arms and legs out to the side, wiggle them like crazy and squeal!  You can still stand like a pro but you're not moving your feet to walk or grabbing onto tables or the couch to keep yourself vertical.  You just like one of us to keep you standing!

You take 6 ounce bottles six times each day, and you eat a container or two of veggies for lunch and dinner.  It took a few tries to get you to eat your veggies but now you seem to love them- especially sweet potatoes!  You've also eaten carrots, green beans, peas and bananas.  I need to go to the store and re-stock; I think you need a little more variety.  We've also started you on cereal puffs and a sippy cup of water.

You sit up on your own- on the floor, in your stroller, in high-chairs and everywhere else!  You love to be able to watch everyone around you and be right in the middle of the action.  You're also very loud!  You laugh, squeal, giggle, jabber and yell!  I'm trying to get you to say "Mama" and you will, but I don't think you have any idea what it means yet.

You're ticklish!  We can tickle your armpits and you will scrunch up and give us a big grin.  It's like you know it tickles but you're not sure how to respond.  You love to be hung upside down and roughhouse with Daddy.

You love going for walks in your stroller, swinging on the playground, and petting the dogs.  You are still such a happy baby, and people comment all the time on how easy going you are.  Your great temperament makes it so easy to go places.  You nap when you're tired and eat when you're hungry; you don't get fussy if you're sleeping in a new place or eating outside of your highchair.  You go with the flow, and it's awesome!

You still LOVE your baths!  You can sit up in your tub now so you spend your time playing with your bath toys while we wash your hair and little body.  I'm sure you don't like getting out of the tub, but you never cry.

It's so hard to remember all of the little changes in you even from month to month because you change so much every day!  It's just so unbelievable to think how much you've grown in just seven months!  You are such a big girl!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

6 Months

Dear Mia,

It's so hard for me to believe you're already six months old!  Where does the time go?  These past two months have been the most exciting months in your development because you're little personality is really starting to show, and you are such a goofball!

You make all kinds of noises now, little grunts, screams of delight and belly laughs.  You've started sticking your tongue out, and pursing your lips to blow spit bubbles.  You put EVERYTHING in your mouth including your toes, and we've caught you sucking your thumb a few times.

You love your pacifier, but you only really need it when you go down for a nap, at bedtime and if you're getting bored in the car.  You still like the toys that light up and play sounds, and like to hold your taggie blanket.

You started sitting up on your own when we were on vacation in Wisconsin.  Your Dad and I were bringing in the luggage from the car and I just sat you down in the middle of the living room... and you just stayed there!  You really developed a lot that week, I think because we were able to devote so much time to you.  We took you back to your Aunt Courtney's when we got back and said "watch out!  She's a totally different kid!"  Now that you can sit up, you enjoy larger toys like the giraffe ball popper and pretend car steering wheel.  The other day you were playing with the steering wheel toy, picked it up onto your lap and then fell right over.  I think the weight of the toy threw off your balance!

You are also getting much better at being on your tummy.  You've started to scoot around (mostly backwards or to the side) and you're starting to try and crawl.  You'll put your head down onto the carpet, your butt in the air and try to push with your legs.  You're almost there!

You still love to stand up (although you're not showing any interest in walking yet) and JUMP!  You've gone through a growth spurt these past two months and when you're in your jumperoo you can reach the floor with no problem.  You LOVE to jump, scream and jump some more!  You are hilarious to watch and we've taken some pretty funny videos of you going to town in that jumperoo.

You're way too big to sit on the counter while I get ready in the morning, so I've moved you to a stationary activity station.  I stock pile it with toys and we have little chats while I put on my makeup and do my hair.  Although the activity stand is not for jumping, you still get excited sometimes and try anyway.  You're hilarious in the mornings sometimes.

Your interest in the dogs is increasing, and their kisses make you giggle and laugh.  You LOVE swimming, walks in the stroller and just being outside.  These past two months we took trips to Michigan and Wisconsin to meet your extended family, Turkey Run State Park, Peoria, and other places.  You sleep great in the car, but we have to make sure to plan the drives for your nap times.

You sit with us in your high chair during dinner time, although you're still on a formula-only diet.  (You can hold your own bottle now!)  At your six month appointment your pediatrician said you're a very lean baby, but nothing to worry about.  She recommended we start adding cereal and then veggies to your diet, but that you still might not chunk up.  You're just meant to be long and lean!  You weigh 15 pounds, 1 ounce (26%) and are 26.22 inches long (61%).

Everyone loves you, Mia.  Every single person that has the pleasure of interacting with you thinks you are a doll, and no one loves you more than me and your Daddy.  You are the most perfect little girl and we are so in love with you, Mia.  Thanks for being you.


Friday, July 6, 2012

4 Months

Dear Mia,

You are such a joy.  This month has been by far our most enjoyable with you and your Dad and I have agreed that if you stayed exactly this age for the rest of your life we’d be ok with that.  You are just the happiest little girl, and we are loving everything about this four month stage.  You laugh and jabber all day long, play with your toys, bounce in your jumperoo and love to go on day trips.  You are back to eating and sleeping normally, you don’t freak out at 6:00 pm anymore (thank God) and you’re always smiling.  You are taking much more interest in the dogs and will pet Oscar when he’s within reach.  You also love your rattles and toys that light up and play sounds.

You’ve developed some pretty funny quirks this month: your eyebrows turn red when you’re about to get upset (we call it your “tell”), you scratch your head when you’re eating your bottle, rub your eyes when you’re tired and wave your left arm around like a lunatic when we’re trying to rock you to sleep against your chest.  Waving your arm is like your last stitch effort at staying awake.  If you could just keep that arm moving maybe the rest of you would wake up…

You sleep for 11 hours on the weekends.  11.  That’s 1 more than 10, 2 more than 9 and a TON more than the average baby.  Your Dad and I don’t dare discuss your sleeping habits around other parents because we’re afraid of the jealous daggers they shoot at us with their eyes.  You’re a rock star when it comes to sleeping, and we love you for it.  Let’s keep that trend going, ok?

You are a drooling fool.  Your pediatrician doesn’t think this is a sign that you’re teething quite yet, just a gross side effect of being four months old and putting EVERYTHING in your mouth.  You always have a hand (or two) jammed in there, along with a toy, blanket and sometimes a part of pacifier.  You’re still yanking your pacifier out of your mouth but you’ve started figuring out how to put it back in on your own.  I say “started to” because sometimes you try to jam it back in sideways and just start munching on the plastic part. 

This month you’ve become very uninterested in laying on your back.  You’ll still occasionally lay on your play mat and kick at your piano, but you much prefer to be standing, sitting in your activity chair, or jumping in your Jumperoo.  You’re not quite tall enough for the Jumperoo yet, so we have to put a pillow under your feet.  You also can’t figure out how to get the toys that are attached to the Jumperoo in your mouth.  You fall short of getting the actual toy in your mouth and instead start gumming at the seat itself.  I’ve tried to help by giving you more toys within your reach but you’ve got your heart seat on the ones you can’t really reach yet, and that frustrates you pretty quickly.

This month your Dad went on a business trip to Oklahoma and while he was gone we used Skype to video chat with him.  It was pretty incredible to watch you interact with your Dad through a computer screen.  He would talk to you and make silly faces and you would smile and coo back at him.  700 miles apart and you’re still a Daddy’s girl!

Now that you’ve recovered from your 6 o’clock meltdowns, our evenings together are much more enjoyable.  You are all smiles by the time I get home, and have started sitting in your highchair you’re your while your Dad and I eat dinner.

You had your four month appointment with your pediatrician on July 6th and you weighed 13 pounds, 1 ounce (40%) and are 24 inches long.  Your doctor is very happy with your growth and said that you are developing just as you should be.

This month we took you on your first overnight trip to Indianapolis (which was a huge hit) and we’ve spent a TON of time in Grandpa and Grandma Snipes’ pool because it’s been so hot!  Your Grandma Young came to visit again and we had a great girls day out!  Also this month you had your first haircut (GASP!)  Yes, your Dad and I cut your hair because you had lost so much already, and what was left was looking awful.  HAHA, sorry.  But you really did need a trim.  Your head is now covered with wisps of new, blonde hair and it’s so adorable.  You’re a blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty, baby.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Maternity Leave

Dear Mia,

I started writing a blog post on April 12th and it was going to detail how we spent our days together while I was on maternity leave.  This is how it began:

One of my favorite parts of the day is cuddling with you on the couch and watching The Price is Right.  We do this from 10:00 am to 11:00 am every day, just after I change your diaper and get you dressed for the day.  I wrap you up in a little fleece blanket so you're nice a cozy, recline our seat and settle in for must-see-TV.  Sometimes Oscar will jump up and cuddle with us on the footrest.  There's no better way to spend 60 minutes.

I've been home with you since the day you were born and it's been the most important six weeks of my life.

I've come to realize that one of the main purposes of maternity leave is to teach me that I cannot move at the speed of light anymore.  Life with you moves a lot slower than it did before you arrived.

Unfortunately I never found the time to finish this post and it sat unpublished in my blog drafts for months.  I'm going to try and finish it now because it's scary how faded those memories are, and I want to keep those memories alive.  So here it is:

Our day would start at 5:00am when you would wake up hungry for your morning bottle.  Your cries would rouse me from my sleep and we'd head to the kitchen together where I'd make your bottle.  You'd eat like a champ and then I would change your diaper and pump for your next meal.  While I pumped you would fall asleep laying next to me on the couch.  When I was done we'd both go back to bed until you woke again at 9:00am.  The cycle repeated at 9:00am with a bottle, diaper change and pumping, followed by an outfit change for you.  Then we'd return to the couch for the hour of TV watching that I detailed above.

You'd inevitably fall asleep again from about 10:30am to Noon.  I'd spend most of that time showering and getting ready for the day.  Sometimes I'd put laundry away or run the vacuum, too.  You woke up to eat again at 12pm and then we'd sit with your Dad (who came home every day for lunch during my leave) from 12:15-12:45pm.  After he left I'd have lunch and pump while you took another small nap.

By 2:00pm we were both ready to get out of the house.  Sometimes we'd head out to the grocery store or run errands, and other days we'd go for a short walk around the neighborhood.  I was still having some pain from the c-section so our outings were always pretty brief.

You would eat again at 3:00pm, whether we were home or not, and then I'd have to be home shortly after that to pump.  Sometimes (ok, once in a blue moon) I'd get dinner ready and your Dad and I would eat when he got home at 5:15pm.  There was more eating/diaper changing/pumping at 6:00pm, 9:00pm and 11:00pm.  Your Dad and I would also change you into your pajamas and give you a bath (3 times a week).  You would fall asleep right after your final feeding at 11:00pm and sleep like a champ until the next morning at 5:00am.

Mia, the time we spent at home together was priceless and I wouldn't trade those six weeks for the world.  I enjoyed each and every minute of our time together, and I'm so glad that I finally found the time to write about it.  I hope I can continue to blog and keep these kinds of memories alive.  I love you, nugget!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

3 Months

Dear Mia,

You are three months old today!  And to celebrate this milestone you have decided to stop eating.  Yep, you've just decided that you're not all that interested in taking your bottle anymore, thankyouverymuch.  I'm sure you've convinced yourself that bottles are SO last month, but unfortunately that's your only method of nutrition at this point... so we're going to have to come to some sort of compromise.  Ok?

This month you really fell into a routine and started letting us know your likes and dislikes.  Likes: kicking, standing, your morning bottle, Daddy's funny faces and silly noises, anything you can stick in your mouth, your hands, bath time, and having your cheek rubbed.  Dislikes: long car rides and 6:00 pm.

Mia, you have a serious problem with 6:00 pm.  We're not really sure what exactly triggers it, but every day at 6:00 pm you are a non-eating, inconsolable, screaming baby.  It takes a good hour to finally calm you down- a routine which includes gas medicine, 2 ounces of milk (if we're lucky), a diaper change, rocking, butt patting, and me (or your Dad) eating dinner with one hand as we balance you on our lap with the other.  I really wish we could just draw up a new clock and leave the 6 off.  It would make our days SO much more enjoyable.

You're much more vocal with coos and laughs (and cries) but sometimes you'll break into a full conversation with yourself and just go on and on, babbling so much that your Dad and I just stare at you, thinking that at any moment we're actually going to be able to understand you!  Just the other day we were all in the car on the way to dinner and you chatted the entire way there.  You've also started to mimic the noises and faces your Dad makes, which is adorable... and frightening to think that one day you two are totally going to gang up on me.

You hate tummy time, and I'm probably the world's worst Mom for not making you do it more (so sue me), but you LOVE to stand up, shake your booty, and do a great bobble-head impression.  I like to stand you on my leg and as you rock back and forth, trying to stay balanced, I say "shake what I gave ya!" and you give me a big grin.  You're so darn cute.

I may complain about your little quirks sometimes, but in general you are a very happy baby, Mia.  You like to be included in the conversation, lay on your playmat, kick your piano, and get sloppy kisses from the dogs.  You smile at everyone you meet, love to be held, and just recently belly-laughed at Grandma Snipes for the first time.  We haven't been able to get you to laugh like that since, but we're trying!  You are still a great shopper, sleeper, and don't mind being in your car seat.  You are a joy!

This past month your Aunt Kirsten came for a visit and I took you to Naperville to meet your Aunt Sue and Emily and spend some more time with your Grandma Young.  You had a great time in Naperville and got all kinds of presents.  You are so spoiled!  Your Dad and I are planning a trip to Michigan soon so you can meet all of your Michigan relatives, and we're also planning a quick getaway to Indianapolis which will be your first overnight away from home.  We hope we can add "great traveler" to your list of attributes.  What do you think?

Love you baby,