January 15, 2017

One Year

There is a part of me that feels like Wren was just born. But then the other part of me, the bigger part, feels like I've known her and loved her forever. She is such a part of me now that I don't remember what it was like to exist without her. 
Our little feisty girl turned one last week, and I'm experiencing all of the Mommy emotions at such a major milestone it my little one's young life. I can't believe how this tiny baby has become a little person. She has more personality and independence I thought could possibly be squeezed into such a small package. She impresses me every day with everything she has learned, and continues to learn. Here are Wren's current stats:

Weight/Length: ??

In the last month, Little Miss has gone from walking to running. She NEVER crawls anymore, and has decided that walking isn't fast enough, so running has become her main mode of transportation. She likes to freak her Mommy out and run with articles of clothing on her head, and then proceed to run into stationary objects...like her high chair. Wren continues to add more words to her vocabulary, and can usually be heard saying either, "uh oh" or "dog, woof woof." Her newest words are "hi" and "thank you." She also loves to make animal noises upon command. You ask her what a certain animal "says" and she responds. She has mastered "woof, woof," "meow," "neigh, neigh," and "moo" (which sounds an awful lot like "meow"). Wren can now identify certain body parts, particularly her eyes, nose, belly and toes. But she prefers to point them out on other people. Daddy has gotten many fingers to the eyeball this month, which is always entertaining.  Wren is also the champion high fiver and hugger. She still refuses to give kisses though...

Loves: Reading books with Mommy and Daddy. Her favorite books are "First 100 Words" and her BabyLit version of "Les Miserables." She especially loves when she is told to "turn the page" and often tries to flip the pages prematurely. Wren continues to love dancing more than anything which makes her music-loving Daddy happy. She has also developed a love for her blankets this month, and will throw a fit if anyone tries to take her blanket away. Wren also has developed a strange love for dragging laundry around the house. She likes to venture into the laundry room, pull clothes out of the hamper (dirty or clean, she doesn't discriminate), and drag them around behind her.

Hates: Does it even have to be said? Wren still loathes her carseat, of course. She also hates having anything taken away from her, and lets her displeasure be known with some ear-piercing screams. It's quite pleasant. 

Watching this girl grow over the last year has been such a joy, and seeing her progression pictures makes me realize just how far she has come.

To celebrate Wren's birthday, her Dad and I threw her a fiesta. Wren LOVES Mexican food (like her Daddy), and LOVES to dance...so we figured it was the perfect birthday theme for our little girl. Most of our family members were able to join us in celebration, and fun was had by all. 
The kids enjoyed some pretty exciting activities, and I'm bummed I wasn't able to get photos of them all. They colored pictures, took photos with fun fiesta-themed props, made flower crowns, played pin the tail on the donkey, and played with balloons. 
I set a goal early in Wren's life to wait until her first birthday to give her sugar. Surprisingly, we were able to stick to that goal, even though my family gave me a hard time about it. I assumed that she would dig into her smash cake, but surprisingly, our crazy girl gingerly touched the frosting, and didn't really want anything to do with it. Once she was given a few bites, she warmed up to the idea of eating it, but there was definitely no "smashing" of the cake involved.
We love this little girl of ours, and had such an amazing time celebrating her first birthday. It took a lot of work, but seeing our Wren light up at the crowd of people waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs as she came down from her nap was worth the late hours. I will be happy if I never have to see a piece of tissue paper again, but I'm glad it all came together. She ran around the house, clutching a balloon the whole day, and laughing at the antics of all of of her cousins. We are so blessed to have our amazing family, and especially our little Wren.
Happy birthday, Wren. We love you!

December 29, 2016

Eleven Months

The Holidays have been such a joy with our little Wren. Looking at lights, dancing to Christmas music, and opening gifts were such magical experiences. We're so bummed it's all over, but have her birthday to look forward to next month. We still can't believe that our little girl is almost one!

Weight: 18 pounds 6 ounces

Length: ??

December has been a month of fun milestones for Little Miss Wren. She has learned how to stand up from the ground (rather than having to pull herself up to something), and is walking all over the place. While she still prefers crawling, she is walking more and more, and can get across the room pretty proficiently. She is also learning new commands and understands an ever-growing list of words. She knows what "sit down" and "lay down" mean, which has made diaper changes much easier for Mommy! She can identify where her "books" are, as well as the "Christmas tree" and most of the people close to her, to name a few. You ask her where something is, and she points. Mommy's favorite has to be the monkey on her diaper. You ask her, "Wren, where's the monkey?" and her little finger immediately points to it. Wren has also mastered the art of high-fiving...although she is pretty selective with who she will give them to (which isn't surprising, since she's the same way with her hugs and kisses). Wren has also learned how to turn light switches on and off, which she finds quite entertaining. One of the cutest milestones that Wren has reached is blowing her nose. She had a bit of cold this month, and her poor little nose was always running. So, Mommy showed Wren how to blow her nose, and it has made "snot-wiping" a much more efficient process. Plus, Wren thinks it's a game, so it's a double win.

Wren still maintains the same loves: dancing and stuffed animals. She also REALLY loves Mommy this month, and has become very clingy, which is a new development. Wren used to go to anyone, but lately she only seems to want Mommy (which has made Daddy pretty sad). Wren received a LOT of new toys for Christmas, and so has several new loves. Her favorites are her V-tech walker that Mommy and Daddy gave her, and her shape-sorter toy from Nana and Papa. She also LOVES her Beat-bo dancing robot (another toy from Nana and Papa).

Still the car seat. Always and forever. Her "hates" haven't changed much since the day she was born: car seats, and being held down or held back in any way. This girl loves to be free, and definitely has a mind of her own! Mommy and Daddy say she is way too opinionated for someone so young. It was discovered this month that Wren hates Chinese food. For the first time in her life, she spit food out, which was a total shock to Mommy and Daddy. Wren loves all food, so it was definitely a surprise to see her spit something out (especially something as delicious as teriyaki beef!).

December 28, 2016

Ten Months

Man, I am behind on these monthly updates! But, in my defense, The Holidays have had us more than busy.

Weight: 17 pounds 3 ounces

Length: Who knows??

Wren's walking abilities are progressing more and more. She will take several steps at a time, but still prefers crawling as her main mode of transportation. Wren's speaking abilities are also improving. She has added a few words to her repertoire, most notably "woof." Every time Wren sees a dog, she points her finger, and excitedly says, "Dog! woof woof!" Wren has also learned how to nod her head, "yes," but still prefers to say "no" to almost everything. If you ask Wren a question, her answer is almost always, "no, no, no," with an occasional "yes" head nod thrown in. Daddy and Mommy's least favorite milestone this month is her newfound love of screaming. Little one has learned how to express her displeasure, and it is LOUD. Luckily, the screaming isn't a constant (unless she's in her carseat), but when it happens, watch out! Wren has FINALLY started to give hugs. She is still stingy with her kisses, but she has become the queen of hugs. She doesn't hug everybody, but when she decides you're a person that she wants to hug, she gives them freely.  

To dance! Wren learned how to shake her little body last month, but her love of dancing has increased exponentially! Any time music comes on (even if it's a hymn at church) Wren's little head starts to bob, and her arms start a-swinging. If Wren sees Daddy's phone, she crawls over, snatches it up, and starts dancing...even if there's no music playing. She just knows that Daddy's phone equals music. Her favorite music to dance to is, without a doubt, Empire of the Sun. Wren also LOVES stuffed animals. She has always been attached to her stuffed animals, but in the last month or so, that attachment has turned into full-blown adoration. She hugs on her stuffed animals more than anything (even Mommy). Wren also loves pretty much ANY food. She loves to eat, as she always has, but still refuses to get chubby (much to Daddy's disappointment).

Wren STILL hates her car seat. And anything that keeps her constrained (shopping carts, diaper changes, and so on). Wren's newfound screaming can be heard during any of these activities, and it's enough to make Mommy cringe. Wren is still a mostly happy baby...as long as she's free to move around as she pleases!

November 15, 2016

Nine Months

Motherhood, while immediately fulfilling, was a difficult transition for me.
Before having Wren, I always thought that I would fall into the role naturally and that I would love every exhausting moment of it.
I immediately realized the naiveté of that belief.
It was HARD, and I found myself constantly thinking, "what the heck have I done?" I loved this squawking ball of flesh more than I loved myself, but being a mom was not immediately a fun experience for me. That was hard (and still is hard) to admit. Fulfilling? Yes. Amazing? Absolutely. But fun? Not so much.
It wasn't until Wren got to about six weeks old that I came out of my dark cloud of depression. Then she hit three months, and I finally felt like I could really enjoy this "motherhood thing." By six months, I felt like I had hit my stride, and life was good.
But that was only until Wren hit nine months. Nine months is a whole different story. Nine months is pure, absolute joy. A nine month old Wren has to be the most glorious thing ever created, and if I could freeze her at this age forever, I totally would. And if you were to ask me to describe motherhood now? It would be, "FUN!"

Weight: 16 pounds 6 ounces

Length: 27.5 inches

Oh, where do I begin? Wren loves to wave "hi" and "bye" to everybody. You just have to say the words, and her hand immediately starts flapping away. Walking is also becoming a closer reality. Baby girl pulls herself up to everything, and now "lets go." She can stand on her own for long periods of time, and will take a step or two before falling to her butt. She has also perfected the art of clapping. Mommy or Daddy will say, "good job!" or, "yay!" and Wren will enthusiastically start clapping. Wren has also learned her first "real" words this month. Her very first word was, "dog." Mommy didn't believe it at first, but Wren proved her wrong by excitedly saying "dog" EVERY time Aunt Erin's dog Sunny came near. Within days of that, Wren started to constantly say, "Dad" every time Daddy was in sight. Daddy is her favorite word, which makes a certain someone VERY happy. She also says, "Mama," but usually only when she's upset and wants some loving. The newest word on the list is, "no." She likes to say "no, no, no" while shaking her head, and is really good at letting you know when she doesn't want to do something. She especially loves the word when Mommy is asking her for a kiss. She thinks it's hilarious. Wren also has developed her "pointing" skills and will point at absolutely everything. Accompanied with the pointing is her new-found ability for pushing buttons on EVERYTHING (including Mommy and Daddy's cell phones). Wren is also figuring out how to use her shape-sorter toy. She has the "circle" down, but still struggles with the "star."

Loves: CHICKEN. Who would have thought? I would have figured that fruit would be her favorite food, but nope. She's all about her chicken. Wren would eat chicken at every meal if she could. She also loves to dance. This is also a new milestone, but is better classified as one of her "loves." Every time Daddy starts blasting the music, her little butt starts a-shaking. It's probably the cutest thing Mommy and Daddy have ever seen. Wren also loves to play "peek-a-boo." Mommy will put a blanket over her face and say, "where's Mommy?" Then Wren will quickly crawl over, whip the blanket off Mommy's face, and immediately start giggling. She also loves to put the blanket over her own head, wait until Mommy or Daddy say, "where's Wren?" and then, again, whip it off while laughing away. Wren has also discovered a love for her cousin Evan's rocking horse. It has become her favorite toy, and she would sit on it all day if her Aunt Angelia would let her! Wren also loves being tossed onto the bed/couch by Daddy. He builds up a stack of pillows, and chucks her on top. She thinks it's the greatest thing ever. Mom is not so much of a fan. A not-so-fun "love" of Wren's is hitting. Mommy and Daddy are working on it, but when excited, Wren has taken to smacking whoever's holding her in the face. Hopefully she can be broken of that habit soon!

Hates: Wren has had a bit of a regression with her car seat. It has always been her nemesis, but she's been okay with it for the last few months. In the last couple of weeks, however, she's decided she loathes it again. Luckily she only screams when getting put into her car seat. Once she's strapped in, she usually calms down.

November 02, 2016


The older I get, the more I realize that life is just a constant succession of seasons. Good ones and bad. While that fact may be obvious to some, I always seem to forget that all things come and go. That time, by its very definition, goes on. Hard times come to an end, and the birth of a new season brings a fresh start.
What a very obvious epiphany. 
But when I'm in the midst of one of those difficult seasons, I often forget that there will be an end. Change will come. Life will be fulfilling again, not just something to endure.
With the onset of Fall, one of those hard seasons has come to an end in my life. Fall has brought that fresh start that I've been waiting for, both literally and figuratively. I feel like I can finally take a deep breath, lift up my head, and enjoy life again.
My baby girl got to experience her first Halloween season this year, and watching her take it all in was such a lovely event. She is just so fascinated by the world around her and I love watching her try to figure things out. We took her to Oma's Pumpkin Patch (a Russell family tradition) where she went on her first hay ride, explored some pumpkin options, and met a few very friendly goats. It's funny how such simple activities take on new meaning when you experience them through your child's eyes.

Wren also got to experience Halloween, Russell style (which usually involves a lot of food and a lot of laughter). We decided to go as Mama Bird, Papa Bird, and Baby Bird. I spent WAY too much time perfecting her costume, but it was well worth it, I say, because Wren was pretty much the cutest bird that ever existed. Our Halloween weekend included a party, trick-or-treating, and Hocus Pocus in the yard. I'm still recovering from the sugar overload...

October 03, 2016

Eight Months

Time sure is a-flying with this little girl. Graham and I seem to have daily conversations about time and raising a baby. We want time to speed up...for her to get to the age where she's walking and more able to experience the world around her. But at the same time, we want it to slow down so that we can enjoy these precious and fleeting moments of our little one's infancy. So, we have both committed to enjoying every moment and every milestone as it comes.

Weight: 16 pounds

Length: ??

Milestones: Wren has become a climbing fool. She climbs over, up, under, and on everything...no matter how high or seemingly dangerous. She thinks she's invincible, and has given Mommy her fair share of near heart attacks. She also pulls herself up to EVERYTHING (think: fridge, sliding glass door, mommy's legs...the list goes on), and has started "cruising" around the couch. She also seems to think she can walk, and will try to let go and take a step here and there. Wren has also discovered the stairs, and has figured out how to climb them...another milestone that makes Mommy's heart pound. It's time for baby-gates around the Russell household. Wren has also discovered how to "throw" everything, and likes to chuck things out of her car seat...and then get mad when she can't reach them. It's a fun cycle. Not. Another not-so-pleasant, and not-really-a-milestone event that Wren experienced this month was her first cold. It was awful. The doctor thought she might have whooping cough, but luckily it just turned out to be a really nasty cold. Everyone was miserable, and little Miss Wren just wanted snuggles from Mommy for a whole week.

Loves: Señor Raton. He's an ugly, plastic rat that her Aunt Rachel bought her. Wren loves to give him "kisses," and chew on his tail. It's weird. But, hey...anything that keeps her happy. Wren also loves to "walk" when someone is holding her hands. She takes huge, running steps and feels quite accomplished with her walking abilities. Wren also loves "real" food. No more purees for her. She just wants to eat whatever Mommy and Daddy are eating, and especially loves bread.

Hates: As always, Wren continues to LOATHE getting dressed and having her diaper changed. She definitely knows how to let Mommy and Daddy know when they've upset her, and will do all in her power to roll away from any diaper change. Daddy likes to tell her that she has, "one heck of an alligator death roll."  

September 06, 2016

Seven Months

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Now that Wren is almost eight months old, I suppose it is time to post her seven month stats...

Weight and Length: Who knows...it's been a while since this girl has been weighed or measured.

Milestones: Wren has become the champion of army crawling. She still doesn't have any desire to get up on her knees and crawl in the "conventional" way, but Mommy and Daddy have a feeling that her unconventional crawl is just how she plans on doing it until walking takes over. She's fast, and can get anywhere she desires...even if it looks a little comical! Wren has also been working on her "standing" skills. She loves to use Mommy and Daddy (or any person sitting on the ground for that matter) as a personal jungle gym. She likes to crawl to whoever is sitting near, and pull herself up to standing. She is very proud of this new-found ability and gets quite a kick out of her accomplishments. Wren has also (finally!) gotten her first tooth. While her tiny little tooth looks adorable, it can be lethal while nursing, and Mommy misses the days of toothless feedings! 

Loves: To party. Seriously. The joke has always been that Wren is a party animal (since she didn't sleep for the first 48 hours of her life), and it is so true. Wren can be beyond exhausted, but as long as there are people around, she is happy...no matter how late it is. It's quite convenient for her like-minded Daddy who also loves a good party. Wren also loves jewelry, especially necklaces (and especially Nana's necklace). It's one of the only times she will hold still...when a necklace is in her hand or in her mouth. Wren has a strange obsession with plastic cups (including Daddy's Big Gulps). If she's handed a cup in a restaurant, she will sit contentedly in her high chair playing with it all through dinner (until she drops it on the ground of course). The only toy Wren needs in the bathtub is the cup that Mommy and Daddy use to rinse her off, but when they try to take it away from her to rinse her hair, WATCH OUT! She starts squirming and grunting (and eventually crying) until Mommy and Daddy give it back. 

Hates: Being dressed, or having her diaper changed. Essentially, Wren hates any activity that keeps her restrained for longer than 10 seconds. Wren especially hates it when Daddy changes/dresses her because he's SO slow. They both get quite frustrated...and Mommy finds Daddy's grunts of frustration quite entertaining. Wren also hates being left alone. If Mommy or Daddy walk out of the room, she immediately gets upset (and the second they walk back in, she is all smiles again). Luckily this only seems to happen if she is really tired or hungry. 

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