Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Long time, no blog...

So a month & 1/2 is a certainly a record (an inexcuseable one) for not having updated. To be perfectly honest, I had convinced myself, by dialing into rationalization.com, that no one really read this and therefore had little need to post. But thanks to the complaints of a few close friends, it appears there are people out there, so this update is for them. Jules, I'm talking to you!

So let's start by saying Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Christmas at the Ballard home was extremely abundant. As you can imagine, Ada received everything she didn't know she wanted and more. We had a couple of visits to sit in Santa's lap. The first, she hated, and the second she seemed to tolerate. Special thanks to CNB of Texas for providing Santa and Santa pictures to our community.

We visited the Tolles' household in Montgomery for Christmas and had a very fun time there. Ada enjoyed being spoiled by her grandparents and surviving on a diet consisting mostly of crackers. That's her idea of a vacation, let me tell you.

I must say, aside from all of the toys, clothes and books she recieved, the gift she must be most excited about is the promise of a new baby brother or sister.

Wha-what, you say? Yeah, that was actually Ada's response too. Just kidding, she really has no idea how her world is about to be rocked. But we're optimistic that she will adjust just fine. So anyway, there you have it. The Ballard's will be welcoming a new member to the family come July of this year.


See...here he or she is. And in keeping with tradition (many of you will remember that we referred to Ada as "Peanut" until the day she was born), this baby will affectionaley be called "Cashew." Also, once again, we will not find out the sex of said baby until the delivery which is VERY fun for those of you who haven't tried it.

Anyhow, that's our big news for 2009. We hope everyone has a very blessed New Year and I resolve to work on posting a little more frequently for those five readers out there!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

BFF

So before Ada, there was Trudy. Our first love. And before Ada, I never imagined loving someone more than Trudy (Kyle aside, of course). In fact, I can remember lying on the couch 8 & 1/2 months pregnant with Trudy and thinking, "After this baby is born, I think I'm still going to love Trudy most. Kyle & the baby will probably be doing all kinds of stuff together, and Trudy & I will still be hanging out on the couch." Needless to say, and much to Trudy's dismay, things haven't exactly worked out that way.


However, Ada has now discovered her first love, and it is indeed, Trudy. She loves this dog. If Trudy is in the house, Ada is right there beside her. If I need to distract Ada from fussing about who knows what, I'll just say, "Ada, where is Trudy?" And she responds with "Trooo" and goes looking for her as if to say, "I don't know where she is. but I better go find out." Its the best redirecting technique I've found so far.

Anyhow, for Trudy, I'm not sure the feeling is mututal. I mean, she is great with Ada and would never show any agression towards her whatsoever, but she can only take so much invasion of her space. If Trudy is lying on the couch, Ada gets right up there with her. If Trudy is lying in her bed, Ada crawls right in there with her. If Trudy is wandering aimlessly around the house, Ada is a few steps behind. Some might question whether it is love or obsession. It definately borders on the latter.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who's a Monkey?

Kyle & I put some thought into what Ada should be for Halloween this year. I really wanted her to be something cutsie and girly and it definitely needed to include a tutu of sorts. However, the more I looked, the more I realized that really didn't suit Ada's personality. Her school teachers once said to me, "It's funny that you dress her so cute and frilly. She's really pretty rough." It's true. My girl, while she's constantly taking makeup out of my drawer, is not really a girly-girl.

She is, however, a climber. A monkey, if you will. So guess what she got to be for Halloween??



And just for old times sake, this was her costume last year. It felt really cruel to put her in it at first, but seeing as she was still in the swaddling phase, she was actually quite cozy for the night!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Comprehension

If you've ever attempted to learn a foreign language, its quite common that before you learn to speak it, you'll be able to understand it. When I studied in Mexico City, I always remember my girlfriends, upon being asked if they spoke spanish, reply "I understand more than I speak." Me, not really speaking or understanding any at the time, had no idea what they meant. Then as I learned to speak, I realized once the language clicks, comprehension is much easier than expression.

Anyhow, all that to say that I am starting to realize that's what is happening with Ada. As she is developing her knowledge for the English language, she can comprehend more than she can express. Oh, she has words. Namely, Sshoo (shoe), Troo (Trudy), Nana (banana), Bow (bow), Jiwaff (giraffe), and apparently although I haven't heard it myself, heh-whoa (hello).

However, it's apparent that when I talk to her, she knows what I'm saying. In response to "Ada, do you want some yogurt?" she beelines it for the fridge. Or if I ask if she's ready to take a bath, she drops whatever she's doing and practically sprints to the bathroom door. When its time for bed, I'll ask her if she's ready to go to sleep. She either replies with a firm "no" and a shake of her head, or sometimes she'll actually go straight to her room. It is really quite amazing.

And as I learned from her teachers, she has mastered the cell phone. They give her a play one at school and said she just walks around chatting on it all day, saying "Heh-whoa" and "Bu-bye." They say she really acts as if she's having a conversation with someone. If you see your mommy do it often enough, I guess its not hard to pick up.



I mean seriously...what has happened to my baby? 'Cause this girl is all grown up!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Musician

This kid is totally going to be a musician. Maybe professionally, maybe as a hobby, but she loves music. At least once a day, she walks over to the stereo, looks at me and starts dancing in an effort to inform me she would like to listen to her music and dance. Real cute. Or you can just start singing one of her favorite songs and she starts dancing. Unless she's in a bad mood in which case she'll tell you "noooo, noooo, noooo" and hit your legs until you stop.

But lately, she's even been channeling musicians.



This is her LL Cool J look, with her one pant leg rolled up.



And here, she's perfected the Elvis snarl. Complete with her own guitar.


Lookout world.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fall is upon us...

The weather has started to cool and if you are anyone but my older sister, you are so thrilled that fall is coming. And with fall comes, what, you ask? That's right...football. If you've ever been to our house on a Saturday, Sunday, Monday night or Thursday night, you know that's probably the only thing playing on the television. However, now that we live in Small Town, America, Friday nights are reserved for High School football. Friday Night Lights is alive and well in Ellis County, folks. And you better believe we wouldn't miss it.

Ada attended her first football game this past weekend. And although this was her first live game, Ada is certainly already familiar to the sport. Being a Ballard, she was introduced to football at the ripe age of 3 weeks old.


At one point during the game on Friday, as I'm chasing Ada up and down the row apologizing to everyone she shoves in the back along the way, the following conversation ensues.

Kyle: "I guess we're going to have to do this every Friday night, huh?"
Me: "Excuse me?"
Kyle: "Look at her. She loves it!" (In reference to our one year old daughter.)
Me: "And by love it, do you mean can't possibly sit still for more than 1o seconds at a time unless the nice lady next to us give her cookies as a bribe to sit in her lap?" (snarkily)
Kyle: "Yup."

Oh daddy... I can't wait for you to have one weekend alone with her. And then I welcome you to take her wherever you see fit. One time, I imagine.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

To work or not to work...

I've been staying at home full-time with Ada for over a year now. Most of you know that I had a life and career of my own prior to that. Its funny that having a baby can make you forget what you used to be like. Ever since Ada started Mother's Day Out, I get 6 hours, twice weekly to myself. I say to myself, but really I use it to accomplish the part-time freelance work I've signed on for. A couple of weeks ago, I was having a meeting at Starbucks and managed to make 3 or 4 new potential business contacts and it occurred to me: Wow, I enjoy working again. I had completely forgotten that I was actually good at something. Lately, a lot of new work opportunities have been coming my way. A full-time opportunity in downtown Dallas came through my inbox and I was shocked to find that it was a little bit tempting. I never in a million years thought I would feel this way.

But then it occurred to me. I have it so good. I get to be at home with my baby girl for most of the week. And I also 2 half days of a break that allows me to be productive in a more personal and selfish place, my career. I know if I went back full time, I would go crazy with guilt over outsourcing her to someone else. And if I didn't have another outlet, I would go crazy with feelings of being trapped and worthless. {Sidebar: Being a SAHM is NOT a worthless job. Obviously, there is no more important job in the world than being a mother, but that doesn't mean you always feel that way.}

Anyhow, I've just discovered how truly blessed I am to be able to live every Mom's dream and "have it all," to quote the most popular buzz phrase now that Sarah Palin is the biggest thing around. Besides, how could I go to work every day and miss out on this fun?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

VACATION

Kyle and I jetsetted to Costa Rica for a vacation this past Saturday. Sans Ada. This is the first time either of us have been away from her for that long and it certainly has its positives and negatives. Anyhow, we are having a FANTASTIC time her in Latin America. And apparently so is Ada. Here is an update we received from Aunt Courtney yesterday.

So good to hear from you and nice to know that you are enjoying Costa Rica. We are enjoying Miss Ada so much– she misses you lots but is being such a good girl. Here are some photos of her vacation so far:


Uncle Simon gave her a bath and combed her hair so pretty:


And the next morning she woke up pretty as a peacock:

She has been so sweet and a dancing machine. She even sat still in my lap to read Old Macdonald twice in a row (she just did a little while jive sitting down):


She loves her Dee-Dee and Papa and enjoys the legendary pull, drinking anything that Dee-Dee is drinking, and dancing for everyone.


She loves you two and misses you and asks about you frequently – Dada? Mama? She is steadily saying her same vocabulary words – shhhooe and nana! Shedgtfdeevre ur 6yudsxffdd – that message is from her.
I'll post more vacation photos upon our return.
Love to all!
CB

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Dancing Ada

For Ada's first birthday, her Aunt Courtney bought us a CD called Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell. If you are a mom, even if you are not, this CD is for you. She arranges many songs you already know by heart to be kid friendly. But not only are they kid friendly, they are mom friendly, too. Its music you actually want to listen to everyday, not dread turning on. She sings one of my all-time favorite songs on this CD, Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. I fell in love with this song while Kyle & I honeymooned in Jamaica. After we brought Ada home from the hospital, I can't count the nights that I wandererd around the house softly singing this song at 3AM. Its still one of my favorites to sing to her.

Anyhow, Ada & I listen to this CD daily and just sing and dance. The other day, I turned it on when Kyle was home and Ada immediately gravitated toward the stereo...the results?
Purely precious!


video

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Her First Day of School

Wow, this parenting stuff goes by quickly. That's not to say it's not still difficult, just quick is all. Last week she turned one, this week she started Mother's Day Out and next week, we're going on vacation and leaving her here for seven whole days. She's just 12 months and I feel like she's practically leaving the house already.

I know that Mother's Day Out is best for her. If there's one thing I believe you should equip your children with, it is social skills. Actually, I believe there are lots of things you should equip your children with, but social skills are up there. You know...how to be polite and play well with others. But still, it was a little emotional dropping her off this AM.

I tried to make her walk in the classroom because I thought it would make her feel like a big kid and maybe this Mother's Day Out thing was her idea. Wrong-o. We got about 100 feet from her class and she stopped dead in her tracks and started crying. She knew something was up. So I carried her in and sat her down. She clung to me briefly and then started looking around just soaking it all up. Hmmm...lots of toys, other babies...there's a lot going on in here.

As I explained all of her things to her teacher, she continued to play. We took her picture with her BFF, Matilyn. She smiled a little, but was still mostly observing her surroundings. I realized I left her pack of diapers in the trunk and ran out to get them. When I came back in, I dropped them off and quickly gave her a kiss goodbye because I've read its better to say goodbye then just sneak out. Clearly, an article written by someone without kids. As I walked out of the room, she quickly ran after me. I shimmied out the door and started down the hall when I heard her let out one cry, followed by a long pause and then that signature shriek I've come to know and love. {Sidebar: The long pause - This is Ada's "silent scream." Her mouth is open wide as if she's screaming, but there's no sound. I often find myself saying, Ada -- BREATHE! It can last about 10 seconds or so. Then she takes a huge breath and lets loose.} The one that I know comes accompanied with crocodile tears. I found myself doing exactly what I had just told my friend, Katy not to do. Don't cry. I couldn't help it. This is my baby and she is going to school. Are we sure she's not too little for this? Knowing Ada bounces back quickly, I continued out, praying she would settle down and have some fun.

When I went to pick her up (5 glorious hours later), the teachers said she did great and was going to adjust really well. They said she was very sweet and playful but hadn't so much as laid her head down all day. I swear her eyes were bloodshot. She was exhausted. Not fussy, just tired. She was sound asleep before we even got out of the parking lot.

So I guess we can chalk up her first day as a success. For both her and her momma!

Just before we left the house.


With Matilyn in their classroom. You'll notice we ditched the headband for the less-annoying-and-therefore-less-likely-to-take-off-bow.


Oh, girls! Fun days ahead!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back to the Blogging World

That's right! I'm back to blogging. And to kick things off, here's a slideshow of Ada's twelve month report. How time flies!