Thursday, June 25, 2009

"I love you Grandma and Grandpa!"

The Hekels and Harms Grandparents have had a few trials and busy days this past week -- so be encouraged that we love you down here in Houston! Enjoy the videos and pictures. Abigail sends her love and hugs.

"My toes are scrumptious!"

we love to hear her laugh...

and this is what she sounds like when she's crabby :) still very cute...

Five Months Old

It goes by so fast.

meet Sophie the Giraffe :)


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June Milestones picture update

Abigail is growing and becoming quite the little tanker to carry around! She is reaching for everything, in hopes that it will end up in her mouth. Last night I had her with me in the kitchen as I was getting supper ready. She desperately wanted to help cut up the fruit and vegetables but had to be content to hold the strawberry container. She is also starting to laugh for extended periods - Rodney has a special knack for laughter and she often looks at him as if thinking: "Dad, do something funny!" She is getting better at standing, and I often only need to keep one or two hands on her hips. Sometimes, I think she might walk before she crawls. And I recently ordered some non-toxic/BPA free/phthalate free teethers for her (yes -- cautious mama), which she is enjoying immensely. She gets excited when I bring her a toy and reaches out to me as if to say, "Hurry up, Mom!"

It's been hot here in Houston, and Abigail has gotten to hang out some in her birthday suit to air out:)

A new toy!

She has a flair for the dramatic. She's been a bit demanding the last few days: "Entertain me, Mom!"

"See my cute diapers!"
"I am extremely flexible, and my feet are fascinating!"
I caught the very tail end of her laughing with daddy - she was delighted and full of coos and gurgles but was already well beyond the belly laugh.

This was right before bed a few nights ago - she was tired (and fighting fussiness), but it is so much fun to watch her study her toy and stick it in her mouth...


Monday, June 22, 2009

Abigail and the man cave (and other things...)

The man cave: Rodney's special place where he can tinker and work on his dream project - the CJ8 Jeep. Us girls venture into the man cave seldomly, but who knows, someday it might be a special place where daddy and daughter can bond.

I love this picture - she doesn't quite know what to think of the Jeep, probably because she was sitting on the front:) Don't you love the bright green diaper, Illinois bib and red shirt? Priceless.

Other news - Abigail is fussy. I think it might be because she's right at the awkward stage where she can do so much more now but not as much as she would like. I spend a lot of time "helping" her - giving her toys, teaching her to roll over, talking to her, holding her, letting her stand...etc. I think she might actually be going through another growth spurt, based on how she's been eating as of late...but sometimes I think I can feel a little tooth about to pop through too. Ah - the things I talk about now that I am a mom...

Book I recommend for moms - Praying the Scriptures for your Children, by Jodie Berndt. The chapters are super short, which makes a really easy book to fit into a mom's schedule. I find that when I pray for Abigail, I discover that I am really praying first for myself. The power of the Word of God truly pierces through bone and marrow. This last chapter that I just finished reading was Praying for your Child's Marriage. I found myself realizing that I have grown lax praying for my own marriage and my own character. The author brought me to Proverbs 31, and it was good to reflect on the woman that the Lord desires me to be.

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.She brings him good and not harm, all the days of her life....She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks....She opens her hands to the poor and and extends her hands to the needy....She is clothed with strength and dignity....She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.....Her children arise and call her blessed, and her husband also....Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

May these words dwell in me richly...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Overstimulation = a sad baby

We went swimming on Sunday. Abigail enjoyed sitting on my lap "out of" the water, even though the water was warm and inviting. We'll give the pool another try soon. Until then, we'll just try to keep her cool and protected from the hot Houston sun.

Afternoons in June (aka - VBS) has been rough so far this week. I've been summoned to the nursery to soothe crying Abigail both days this week, and we left for home early today. She's one of the youngest babies in the nursery, so she's is overwhelmed by the crawlers and walkers, crying, and the loud music (not to mention 5 or 6 strangers all trying to calm you down...).
But I guess I should count my blessings - she has slept through the night for the past two and a half months, she takes long afternoon and morning naps and she greets me with smiles throughout the day.
But being a mom is hard, especially when your baby is inconsolable...being a baby out of routine is probably even more difficult...
Mommy and Baby are both learning lessons this week, so you can keep us in your prayers.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

We eat all we can and sell the rest!

Rodney and I are self proclaimed ice cream snobs, now that we live in the south. In our "past" life, we were happy to eat any and all brands of ice cream, so I usually bought what was on sale on the grocery store. Oh how things have changed, now that we have tasted the sweet goodness of Blue Bell ice cream. Their Homemade Vanilla tastes as good as the kind you spend hours cranking on the fourth of July. Friends in the north, we must pray that Blue Bell comes to Illinois :)

So we went to the Blue Bell Creamery this weekend up in Brenham, TX. It has been in the upper nineties all week (dropping to a cool, balmy 78 at night) it was fitting to go on an ice cream tour down here in the heat of a Texas summer. Brenham is a small town outside of Houston, and we also enjoyed lunch in an old ice cream parlor/cafe, and we walked the streets, meandering in and out of antique stores and boutiques. It was a marvelous day. Abigail did very well. We carted her around in the Baby Bjorn. Now that she's older, she gets to face forward and see the world, but we turned her around for naptime so she could fall asleep.

We are holding fast to the Blue Bell slogan - We eat all we can and sell the rest - in that Rodney and I are literally trying to try as many flavors and make ice cream a daily part of our lives, as our time is short here in the south.

I'm awake, Mom and Dad, so can you please turn me around so I can see the world?

It was a beautiful day in Brenham, TX.

The best part of the tour - a big scoop of ice cream:)

This is where we ate lunch...

Abigail amused herself by playing with a bag of chips.
And I loved the armadillo and blue bells painted on the side of the building:)

As far as the rest of the week goes - VBS starts today. Abigail is happily napping, for which I am very thankful. I'm hoping that a well-rested baby will be a happy baby this afternoon. She had a rough day yesterday. Sundays are usually more challenging. She refused to sleep during church (until the sermon was over of course). She took a good afternoon nap, but when we took her swimming, she decided she wasn't really in the mood. She was pretty crabby the rest of the evening...and refused to take a nap even though she was tired. So we took her for a walk and we'll try swimming again when she's more rested.
But the pool felt marvelous yesterday afternoon. The water was warm and inviting, and Rodney and I enjoyed taking advantage of having the pool only a short walk from our apartment. There are some perks to hot Houston weather...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

singing, full sized vans and growing up

New Abigail milestones: She is pulling everything into her mouth! She enjoys rolling on her side, but she still isn't rolling over. She is also far more vocal than she was even a week ago. I uploaded a video of her "singing" to mama. She likes to join me at night and during the day when I sing to her:) Today, she woke in the middle of her nap, talked to herself for about 10 minutes and fell back asleep. I love being a mama. Each day I love Abigail more than the day before.

On another note, Rodney goes through fascination phases. He is always fascinated by all things mechanical, which explains the home projects, yard projects and Jeep project (ongoing...). When we were in the Ozarks, Rodney became reacquainted with the joy of boating. He spent days looking on craigslist and e-bay at boat prices (even though we don't have the space for a boat or the time). Now my FIL is in the market for a new vehicle, one that will be able to pull his boat. Rodney is convinced that a full-sized van is the way to go. They're cheap, carry a lot of people and stuff, and have the pulling capacity of large trucks and SUVs. He's now convinced that a full-size van is a good vehicle for us! But I'm not ready to drive a full-sized van:) Baby steps, Rodney. Let me enjoy my small station wagon a little while longer:)

Next week, I'm helping with Afternoons in June at our church (VBS). I'll be helping with the 4th and 5th graders, so please pray that Abigail does well in the nursery. It will be a growing time for both of us! Last night I had a church meeting, so Rodney had a special evening with his little girl, which doesn't happen very often. They played, went for a walk and had a grand old time. She wasn't phased one bit that I was gone, probably since daddy is so much fun!

It's so much fun watching her grow up. Each day is a gift, for which I am incredibly thankful.

soft stuffed animals are delightful friends

an inquisitive little girl...kinda like her mama...

our happy little girl

"This sure tastes good, Mom!"

bubble blowing...

"I can fly!"

the finished bookshelf...

Abigail's nursery (for those of you you haven't seen it...)

chatting up a storm...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Four Months and catch up...

We are back in Houston after two and a half weeks of travels. Ironically, Rodney is not back in Houston. He had to leave on business for Oklahoma City on Tuesday but will be back on Thursday night. So it's just us girls here at home, catching up on life here down south:) Speaking of the south, how quickly I forgot how hot is down here. I took munchkin for a walk last night and came home dripping...

Abigail had her 4 month well-baby check-up on Tuesday, and the doctor is pleased with her progress. Here is the scoop:

Weight: 15 lbs. 4 oz (50%)
Height: 25 1/4 in. (80%)
Head Circumference: 42 cm (75%)

We had a delightful time home in Illinois, though I wish we could have caught up with more people. Abigail got to meet three of her great grandparents and two uncles while home, not to mention scores of friends. It was so good to see our family and friends. I look forward to when we will be back in Peoria.

But for now, we're glad to be home in Houston. Abigail doesn't travel very well when the trip is longer than 6 hours. After about 6 hours, she starts to get frustrated in her carseat. On Saturday, we had to stop several times just to calm her down. As soon as she would come out of the carseat, she would be right as rain and even smiling - sigh. It was a LONG day. But we stopped in Dallas on the way back, so we broke the trip up, which helped. And we even got to see Megan and KC, who Abigail both loved dearly (which is saying a lot, considering she has developed a preference for me and Rodney...). So in some ways, I'm glad we won't be making the long trek for a while... but it was well worth it.

Enjoy the pictures!

Abigail and Great Grandma Joyce

with Great Grandpa Dean

Great Grandpa Dean and Great Grandma Barbara

Grandma, Abigail and Cobi! She enjoyed meeting Cobi and Camus, but the dogs were more interested in the extra attention from us than little Abigail.

Cobi is such a good dog...note how there aren't pictures of Abigail and Camus!

With Uncle Dave (first time holding a baby...hooray!)

Grandma and baby...

Grandpa and baby girl.

And my favorite picture -- taken in the Ozarks.