Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I'm so sorry it's been closing in on a month since my last blog. In my defense, we have been super busy. I know everyone says that, and maybe I'm just a little more sensitive to my own circumstances, but I think my case is justified. A couple of months ago Frank and I decided to do something we've dreamed about for years. Frank is an amazing online marketer - in fact, I'll say that he is probably in the top 5% of people in his field (he would modestly argue that point, but this is my blog). Anyway, since I decided to stay home with Allison, we figured that there was no better time than the present to finally start our own online store. The idea is that I will run it and Frank will market the crud out of it so we overtake all other similar stores. All this to say that we have been feverishly working to put it all together for a January 1st launch. I've spent many nights up till 2am loading products, resizing images, watching training videos, and studying the market we are entering. To say that I am excited about our endeavor would be an understatement. I had to go to the doctor to get some anti-anxiety pills so I could sleep at night. Not that I'm freaked out by this - I'm actually so jazzed about it that I lay awake thinking about everything that still needs to be done and how it will all come together. I know what you're thinking: What the heck are you guys selling?? Not telling. :) I will post a link to our store when we go live, and until then you can wait in anticipation.

Other than that I've been finishing up my photoshop class, doing all my Christmas shopping, and keeping up with a more mobile and demanding baby girl. I have so much to share about things that have happened in the last weeks, but I'll have to save that for another time. I'm supposed to be cleaning right now, since that is something that has been pushed aside during this busy season.

Below I have attached our Christmas card for this year because I underestimated how many people we would want to send these to by about half. So if you did not receive one, I apologize. Consider yourself now a recipient of our holiday greetings! In other Barnett news, we are headed to New Mexico next week to visit Frank's family and to ski! I'm SOOO excited!! Again, details for another post. I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful and safe holiday! Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Christmas Dress

I was going to save all of these images for our Christmas cards, but we went a different route, so I am now allowed to share them here! I'm very proud of the way these turned out, and I think you'll see why. Allison looks like a little doll. My neighbor who is also a photographer was nice enough to let me borrow her studio set-up. I ended up using natural light because of shadows, but the backdrop she provided made all the difference. It's hard to get the full effect here, because blogger strips out so much of the vibrance in the image, but you'll get the idea. Merry (early) Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Copy Cat

One of my new favorite things to do with Allison is to play with her in her crib right before I leave her there to fall asleep. I know it's not the best idea to get her worked up before a nap, but she's so cute! She squeals, sings, and reaches for my face while I tell her that I'm going to get her. Then I tickle her which is followed my more squealing and laughter. It's so addicting to watch her express such happiness and joy. I mentioned in one of the previous posts that Allison now likes to shake her head back and forth for fun. Well, now she can imitate me doing it! This morning we were playing while she was in bed and I shook my head at her and waited a moment. Then she did it, too, and looked at me with a big smile and an expression that said "ok, now you do it!". So I shook my head again and she laughed and then copied me! So that's our new thing. I need to get it on video.

Another big moment today, she said "Ma"!! Ok, so I know it's not mama, but I really think she's trying because I've been selfishly saying it to her over and over every day for about 3 weeks now. In the last week she has started making the same mouth movements, but without the sound. It's so cool to watch her learn! Again, something to get on video.

Finally, while I was changing her out of her PJs this morning, she found her feet! Until now, she has only wanted her feet if they had slippers or toys attached to them. I grabbed the camera in time to capture her first foot discovery.

Oh! - one more thing. Allison is has also started to lean her head all the way back now when she wants to see something behind her. I think it's funny that she could just turn around, but instead she prefers the blood rushing to her head.

Ok, ONE more thing... She is a sitting pro! Less than a week ago, she was still pretty wobbly, and now she sits with confidence! She's got a whole new perspective on her fish, now.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Amy and Eric agreed to meet me today so I could use them to practice my photography. I think they will be using one of the pictures for their Christmas cards this year. Here is one that I think turned out well. Thanks guys!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Half Birthday, Baby

Today we celebrated Allison's half birthday! I admit that I teared up while I was feeding her her bottle this morning. I couldn't help but think about how quickly the last six months have flown by, and knowing that the last half of this year with her will probably go by just the same. In the next six months she will be walking, talking, eating big girl food, and showing us that personality that, so far, we've only sampled. Change is a good thing, and I'm certainly looking forward to watching her become a toddler, a little girl, and a young lady, but it's also hard not to want to hold on to her just as she is right now.

Allison continues to bring me joy every day, and today was no different. Even though she got up two hours early this morning, didn't nap well, and refused to smile for her six month portraits, we still had a great day. I love my baby more than I can express here, no matter how hard I try. The 'baby santa' picture is just a preview of the great pictures I got of her. They will be proudly displayed on the Christmas cards I'm sending out this week. Everyone have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fingers are Fantastic

Here are a few of my favorite pictures of Punkin on Turkey Day. Anyone else see a theme with her?

Brace Yourselves

WARNING: The following post may be too exciting for some. Please continue reading with cation if you have heart problems, liver problems, are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant. Consult your doctor if you feel any new muscle pain or weakness. :)

Allison is finally big enough to wear shoes!! And they're pink! And they're tennis shoes!!! And I'm overreacting!!! I know. It can't be helped - I tried. Check her out in her big girl jeans, and adorable shoes (brought to you by the same person who introduced us to the bunny slippers) and those big sweet eyes! I think I'm going to keep her.

*notice on the first picture how the flash reflected off of her tongue and makes it look like she has two front teeth! creepy!

What else is new for Allison? I'm glad you asked! Well, we are practicing sitting up every day. She can hold herself steady for a few seconds and then usually does a face-plant in the carpet - well only sometimes - I try to catch her. She has yet to get a rug burn on her forehead! Also, as of Sunday she is doing a new thing where she shakes her head from side to side. It worried me at first, but she really gets a kick out of it so I guess its ok. She is also very into touching/licking my face. I only encourage the touching, trust me. We play a new game where I lay on the floor and let her stand on my stomach. She sees me below her and squeals in delight with her hands stretched out toward my face (adorable). Then I lower her to me and she rests her forehead on mine while cupping my face with her hands! She is usually trying to lick my cheek at this point too. Either way, I end up with drool all over my face. Love it. Frank got some pictures of our little game a couple days ago...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Trendy Casual

I'm loving the cold weather (minus the ridiculous amount of wind) because Allison is looking just plain adorable in her sweatsuits! She can really pull off the trendy/casual look like no other. Anyway, I just wanted share her cuteness with everyone. What kind of mom would I be if I didn't brag about my child relentlessly?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Anything for my Baby

Allison has had a cold for the last week - the second one so far. It really bothers me that there is nothing I can do to make her feel better. Like I mentioned during her last cold, she is still such a happy baby. If it weren't for the sniffles and coughing you would never know she was sick. She has also started crying in the middle of the night (maybe due to a sore throat?), but I have to say that I actually kind of enjoy that. Since Allison is too busy and independent to be cuddly, this has become my one chance to be really close to her. When I pick her up out of her crib I cradle her in my arms and hold her tight. By that time she has calmed down, and all it takes is a "shhhh, mama's here" and she'll find her thumb and go back to sleep. There is something so wonderful about having the ability to comfort your child, and I treasure those moments. She won't let me rock her and hold her tight forever so until then, it's my privilege as her mom to crawl out of bed in the middle of the night so I can make it all better.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Money Well Spent

A couple weeks ago I started noticing that Allison was getting bored playing on her mat with her fish, so I set my mind on getting her an exersaucer. She has enjoyed standing since she was only a couple of months, so it seemed like the right toy to transition to. I looked on the Target website and found that they range anywhere from $50-$150, which I wasn't about to spend. That's when I head over to Craigs List. I'm usually selling stuff on that site, but rarely do I actually purchase anything. This was the perfect time, though. I found a lady who was selling her gently used Baby Einstein Exersaucer for only $25! I arranged everything with her through email and Frank picked it up in Plano on his way home from work that night. I'm not kidding at all when I say that Allison lit up like a Christmas tree. She was SO excited to play with everything. I think it may have been a little overwhelming to be completely surrounded by tasty toys. It's been her favorite ever since then, and I've enjoyed watching her learn new things on it.

Allison is also doing much better eating her baby food. She actually enjoys it now! Applesauce is still her favorite, but she also enjoys sweet potatoes and peas - just like her mama! Her newest thing is to chew on the tray in front of her while she waits for the next spoonful. That makes for a really messy clean-up, but she sure has fun!

Can you believe how big she is?? Look at her standing! She can also sit now sometimes. She can sit on my lap without any support, but tends to fall face first onto the carpet. In a few more weeks I think she will be strong enough to support herself on any surface. Just in time for Christmas pictures!

Finally, Aunt Amy and Uncle Eric got Punkin some snowmen slippers that have finally convinced her that she loves her feet. She has not been interested in playing with them until today. I guess all she needed was to make them into toys! Thanks Ermie!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Unexpected Vacation

As of this time yesterday I had a slow weekend planned. Punkin' and I were going to hang out at the house and maybe do a little cleaning, maybe take some walks. But last night I got the call that I've been waiting for. It was Serra, and she had big news! Before I tell you her big news, though I have to share a little of our history. Rewind about four years...

After I had worked at Broadlane for almost two years I decided to switch positions and I applied for two internal jobs. The managers from both departments offered me a position on their teams, and I was faced with a decision. I did a lot of praying about which one to choose because I was torn. One offered a higher salary, and more of a direct career path. The other, was totally out of my box and it didn't pay as much. For some reason I felt like I was supposed to take the latter. I continued to pray about it and asked God to clear up four specific concerns I had about taking that position. The next day I again met with the hiring manager and he one by one alleviated all of my resignations about the job - I didn't even ask him to! That was clear enough to me that that is where God wanted me.

Two weeks into my new job and I was seriously questioning my communication skills with God, because that job was very far from what I thought it would be. I hated it, in fact. I kept asking God why on Earth he would put me there when it was so clearly not what I prayed for. I quickly decided that I needed to make a friend amongst my new co-workers or I would go crazy. Serra was one of the people who trained me, and I decided that I liked her, so she was chosen. However, Serra didn't want to be chosen. She was nice enough to me, but I could tell that she wasn't interested in becoming buddies. I've told her many times since then that I did in fact pick up on her "that's nice, but are you done talking to me?" face, but I was sure that if she got to know me that she'd like me too. I know at the time, though, she was just questioning my ability to read social cues. lol.

Eventually, Serra came around and we got really close. We ended up sitting next to each other at work and we talked most of the day. We found out that we had a TON in common. The main thing, though, was our personalities. I often referred to Serra as my twin. I always know exactly how Serra will react to something simply by putting myself in her situation. She is sarcastic, independent, hard-headed, and as un-mushy as they come - just like me. We started hanging out outside of work, and got even closer.

During her time at Broadlane, we would often talk about religion and our beliefs. This was one thing we didn't have in common. I grew up in church, Serra had never been. I remember one of the first questions she asked me was if you had to pay to go to a church. She didn't know you could just show up on Sunday morning and take a seat in the pew. I can't say that I remember many of our talks in detail, but I remember telling Frank about it because it was exciting to me that she was even asking. Knowing Serra, I was sure that I could never pressure her to do anything, so I tried to just answer her questions honestly. At that point I had no doubt that God was seeking her, and no doubt why he had asked me to take that job.

Less than a year after we met, her husband Garry got a job in California, so they moved and I was left in that terrible department alone. I definitely shed a few tears because 1) I felt like I was losing a friend, and 2) I was worried that she would never hear much of the Gospel anymore. (Because I'm the only one God can use, right??) Soon after she left I sent her a care package complete with the book "The Case for Christ" and some Wolf Brand Chili (don't ask). There was some other stuff, too, but I can't recall. I kept hoping she would call me and say - "hey I read that book, and I've accepted Christ!". Well that didn't happen.

We continued to keep in touch through emails, IM, and some phone calls which I didn't expect. I'm terrible at keeping in touch with people so I was pleasantly surprised that she and I were able to maintain contact. She eventually made another move to Indianapolis, where they now live. Anyway, throughout the last 3 years Serra has randomly brought up more topics about religion, and on one occasion spent over an hour on the phone with Frank and I as we spelled out the Gospel to her. Again, I was very hopeful, but the call ended without any kind of light bulb going on for her. Her questions came and went for another year, and the more she asked the more I was convinced that it was only a matter of time until she believed. God wasn't letting her forget about Him.

During her time in Indianapolis Serra and Garry both got new jobs, and not surprising to me at all - they were each working with a Christian. Apparently they got the same call from God that I did, because they shared their faith with Serra and Garry. A few weeks ago Garry decided that there must be more to this God of ours, and insisted on them going to church. The message was on "What is keeping you from Jesus". It wasn't long after that that Garry made the decision to follow Christ. Serra wasn't quite ready to make the step, but she was still excited to call and tell me what Garry had done. I laughed at her astonishment at the change in his attitude, and how she was shocked when he whipped out his Bible to read before bed. I was literally beaming from ear to ear!

So, the big news is that last night Serra let me know that she too has become a believer and she and Garry will be baptized this Sunday. I have told her for over a year now that I would be there when she made that profession of her faith, so tomorrow Allison and I are headed for the airport - kleenex in hand! Pray for them in their new faith if you think of them. It's the coolest thing I've ever had the pleasure of witnessing. I'm really glad that God's ways are not my ways, and that he allowed me to be a small part in his plan to guide them to the cross.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Rules

Be sure to check out Donna's Blog today to read her hilarious rules for church visitation. Donna is a very funny lady, and I always look forward to reading anything she puts on her blog, so take a moment for personal entertainment and read her thoughts on the subject. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not Funny

Allison is the most independent baby I've ever seen. She is very happy to play alone, and is for the most part uninterested in anything I have to offer unless it's food. She is just not as cuddly as she used to be, and it makes me sad. She is as sweet as can be - don't get me wrong - but she has better things to do than entertain me. The whole time I'm holding her she is twisting and turning so she can see everything around her, and when she sees something that attracts her attention, there is no distracting her. Like I mentioned before, she has discovered a little bit of her mobility, so when she sees something she wants she lunges for it! I thought it was cute for about a day, but now I realize that she isn't content to just watch me talking to her and singing to her anymore. Is this normal??? Someone tell me - seriously!!

Here's the worst part. Until a couple of days ago she had only laughed if someone tickled her, but then she saw our dogs playing and thought it was hilarious! I immediately realized that she had the capacity for that type of entertainment, and since I was home alone I decided that I would do anything to make her laugh at me like that. I wanted her to think I was funny, too! So I set her up on the bed and started dancing around and singing like a fool. I'm so glad no one was there to see it - I would have been too ashamed to show my face again. She chuckled at me a little bit, but I think it was more of a pity laugh. Or maybe it was nervous laughter because she was embarrassed for me. Either way, it was unsuccessful.

Fast forward to last night. Allison was on the floor playing with her fish and I was folding laundry on the couch closest to her. I took a pair of shorts out of the basket and shook them out before folding them and Allison thought that was hilarious, too. I was sure that it had to be a fluke because THAT can't be funnier than me. So I shake the shorts again, and sure enough - she laughs. So laundry is officially funnier than mom. I'm so defeated!

Ok, just had to vent.

By the way, here is a picture of what she now does on her changing table. See what I mean about the new found mobility? She has places to be, folks!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fabulous Five (Months)!

As tradition would have it, I took Allison's five month pictures today. Granted, I am a couple days late, but for good reason. The last two days have been very overcast and I shoot all pictures of her in my living room using only available light, so the weather is truly to blame here. Either way, I doubt she changed too much in 48 hours.

She only gave me about 7 minutes (tops) to get her pictures done, but I still found a few that I liked. Here they are for your viewing pleasure. Look at that sweet face!

Family Trip

Last weekend Frank, Allison, and I made the trip down to College Station to visit family. It was also that time of the year again for the Aggie 100. No surprise that my dad was again honored, and he also moved up to number sixty-eight! We didn't make it down in time for the ceremony, so no pictures - but I was told that the food was just as snobby as it was last year. :)

This was the first time we had made a long trip in the car with Allison and I was nervous about making her sit in her car seat for that long. However, my baby continues to prove that she is a rock star. She was very good the whole way there. She sang for the first thirty minutes, then she played with her toys for a little while. I could tell she was getting tired around 7:30 so I covered her up with her blanket. After ten minutes of mostly quiet in the backseat I peeked at her and discovered that she had stuffed a good chunk of the blanket in her mouth. She seemed happy enough about it (since she's teething) but, good mother that I am, I felt that the blanket was better used as a ...well, a blanket. After that she stuck her thumb in her mouth and was off to sleep.

You wouldn't believe the arsenal of stuff I had to pack for Allison. She seriously had more luggage than me and Frank combined. I really did try to pack "light" but how do you do that with a baby?? I need to figure it out before we make the trip to NM in December. Anyone have information on "flying with a baby 101"?

Anyway, we spent most of our time hanging out at my Grandmother's house and running errands on Saturday. Sunday we all went to church and then came back to a wonderful lunch followed by some football. I wish we could visit more often, because I love spending time with everyone. Every time we hang out with my Grandmother I realize just how feisty she is. Growing up I always thought of her as the quiet, sweet-spirited woman - and not that she isn't those things, but she is also very opinionated, stubborn, and independent. Frank is now seeing that my traits go a long way back in my family tree.

Here is an example. My dad was fussing at Grandmother about climbing onto stools to reach things on the top shelf of her pantry on Saturday. Then Saturday night Frank caught Grandmother doing it again and tattled on her during Sunday lunch. While everyone was at the table discussing her safety, Grandmother and I are in the kitchen helping ourselves to seconds and I hear her mutter "I didn't promise anything". LOL!

I think everyone really enjoyed having Allison around the house. They hadn't seen her since she was 7 weeks, so having her around at 5 months was quite different. She was really hamming it up on Sunday right before we left. She sat on my Aunt Susan's lap and smiled and squealed at everyone for a good 5 minutes. She had us right where she wanted us, and she loved every minute of the attention.

You'll notice in some of her pictures she is doing a new thing where she tucks her bottom lip into her mouth and sucks on it. That must be another teething thing, but it sure is precious. I know I say this in practically every blog I write, but she gets more fun every day. She is the best thing that has ever happened to Frank and I. Every night before we go to bed we can't help but go in her room, tuck her in, and just stare at her. Many times we will stand in there for 10 minutes watching her sleep and occasionally exchanges glances to silently tell each other how much we love her. I'm sure other parents can relate to this. My life wouldn't be complete without my Allison.

Ok, I didn't mean to go down that path... Anyway, it's time for my baby to get up from her nap, so I'll end it here. Have a great weekend!