Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baby Mirabelle's Milestones: Birth - 14 Months

14 month old toddler
So my daughter, Mirabelle, is a toddler at fourteen months. Now she's climbing up stairs. Ugh, the stairs! It terrifies me but I know I need to let her practice.
Lately, she's been playing with her stuffed animals. She makes them talk to each other, mainly jibberish like "buu-taah, buu-taah, buu-taah, buu-taah."

Anyway, it occurred to me that I haven't been keeping records of her milestones and my memory is already showing signs of forgetfulness, so I thought I'd try as best I could to remember some of Mirabelle's accomplishments.

Tummy Time: Mirabelle hated tummy time. Screamed, freaked out. But once she started, she learned quickly. By four months, she could lift her head and look around.
By five months, she could lift her chest up and rock back and forth.

Crawling: Mirabelle crawled by seven months. I remember how I thought she'd be able to by Thanksgiving and that come Thanksgiving, I let everyone know that my prediction was correct.

Pull herself up to a standing position: Eight months for sure, since I have pictures of her at Christmas standing up and holding onto various coffee tables.

Walking: She could walk by ten months, around Valentine's Day. She was running by mid-March.

Clap her hands: I think she started at around ten months, maybe eleven months.

Words: Hmmm, this is a hard one. It's hard for me to place exactly when she first started saying any given word because she sort of eased into it. I'll just record her current vocabulary at fourteen months:

     Ma Ma

     Da Da

     Kitty (sounds like teh teh, but she's very consistent and does this noise for all cats, both real and illustrated)

     What's that? (sounds like "Whasssat?" and she points to something. Loves to keep saying this and pointing to different objects)

     Quack Quack (sounds like cack cack, in response to the question, "What sound does a duck make?" and upon seeing ducks)

     Bzzz (in response to the question, "What sound does a bee make?" and upon seeing / hearing bees and flies)

     Haah, Haah, Haah (in response to the question, "What sound does a dog make?" -- sounds like panting -- and upon seeing a dog)

     Mew Mew (in response to the question, "What sound does a kitty cat make?"


     Book (I'll give this one to her because she makes ba / boh / boo-taah noises all the time and grabs a book)

     Ball (I'll give this one to her because she makes ba / boh / bah noises all the time and throws her ball)

Sign Language: She's been taught Milk, Food, Finished, Ouch, and Cat, but only really signs Milk and Finished. She started signing for Milk very early, at like seven months, but then randomly stopped at nine months. Recently, she's started doing it again.

There are other random words that she's said on occasion, but she hasn't been consistent. I'm probably being hard on her with regards to "counting" her words, since she makes words all the time. I just want them to be very clear and said often before I'll count them as words. That being said, her comprehension is amazing.

Comprehension: Mirabelle's comprehension is really soaring as of late. You can ask her to get her Hop on Pop book, and she'll fish it out from a pile. Then you can ask her to get her grey bunny rabbit and she'll get it. Then ask for her penguin, she'll get it. Her Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes book, she'll bring it to you. Etc. Etc. Basically, she'll fetch any of her books or toys for you if you ask for them by name. She's also good with other random simple commands. I can tell her to ring the cow's bell (there's a wooden cow in my living room with a bell) and she'll walk over to it and ring it. Outside, we have a toy house with a door bell. I can tell her to ring the door bell and she gets so excited and goes right up to it and rings it over and over again. Stuff like that. I think she'll be saying a lot of words within the next month because she's making all sorts of new noises lately and her comprehension is amazing.

Favorite Things: Climb into a chair with a book and turn the pages. She loves, loves, loves to curl up with her favorite books. She also likes to plop her favorite books in your lap and then climb up on you to have you read to her. Her favorite stuffed animal is probably her little penguin that we got her from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She also loves to sleep with her duck blanket and her bunny blanket plush toy. Sometimes she clutches these items when you get her in the morning and she'll carry them around the house with her.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Hunger Games as Inspiration

I just finished The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Wow, that book reads fast. I wanted to read The Hunger Games for a while now, and have already purchased the second book in the trilogy. I knew I wanted to read The Hunger Games right before I really threw myself behind my second Hazy Souls novel, because I've heard such good things about it and stand by the advice that you need to read something well-written right before you write.

One drawback for me is that The Hunger Games is written in first person. My book is written in third person. I love reading first person books, it's just a little more difficult to adapt my style and pacing alongside my inspiration. I definitely respect The Hunger Games' sense of action and the immediacy of what's going to happen next. It's a real page turner. I'm hoping that my next book will be a faster read, particularly in the beginning as that is a section I've struggled with in the first book. It was also nice to read about Peeta, a good-natured boy who I didn't find the least bit boring, because I want Jeremy's character to grow to be more compassionate.

I think The Hunger Games will help me with:
1.) creating haunting locations
2.) streamlining action sequences
3.) bringing out the best in Jeremy

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Random Picture Collage: College Memories

I thought it would be fun to make a random picture / memory collage, just 'cause.

independent zombie film
At some point in college, I was in a zombie movie. Here I am running from a horde of zombies. Notice the unfortunate direction of our escape: right into the arms of two hungry zombies!

zombie attack
Yes, here we are, lifeless, after the inevitable zombie attack. These pictures were taken during the filming. Oh, college. I was actually in a bunch of college films and was even the President of the Screenwriters of Rutgers University organization, as well as the Vice President of Knight Time Productions, a student film-making club. And I worked for Rutgers Television as a host for an independent music show called Hub City, and as a host for Pass the Popcorn, a movie review show. Fun times.

decorating with boxes
Ah, my precious boxes! I love boxes. My box obsession got a little out of hand, and I started decorating my dorm room with boxes and bubble wrap. This is my dorm door. I also had boxes on the wall beside my bed and on the ceiling.

World Trade Center and Wall Street After 9/11
I did an internship at P.O.V. Documentary in New York, NY in 2006. I used to take the subway to the World Trade Center stop and I could see the charred building remains. I had to walk from the World Trade Center to my internship and go through various blockades. The blockades were set in place to prevent people from driving. There were also always armed guards with rifles.

New York armed guards by the site of the World Trade Center
There was usually someone positioned on the stairs cradling a rifle.

Completely unrelated, but here goes:

girl playing the accordion
Ah, my accordion days! Here I am, serenading the masses with my amateur accordion skillz. This accordion was my dad's when he was a child. My grandfather plays the accordion and he's really good. My dad went on to play the drums in various bands, he even played with Alice Cooper.
Here's a list of instruments that I've attempted in my life:

keyboard (I loved to make songs on the keyboard as a kid. I think I'll be attempting to teach Mirabelle how to play the keyboard / piano with Jesse's help.)

clarinet (school lessons for one or two years, I forget)

guitar (took lessons for one year, I'll still pick this up here and there to play for fun)

accordian (the bellow broke, so I stopped)

drums (play off and on for fun, just because my dad has a set)

recorder (current musical project, haven't made much progress bc I'm distracted by working on my novel, watching the baby, etc.)

voice? (I've been singing for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, I'm not great. But I can hold a tune and stay on pitch, so I'll always sing for fun. I was in choir for about five years. Jesse and I record songs together every now and again.)

Second Pregnancy


It's that time. My little girl Mira is now going on fourteen months and I'll have to start trying again for my second baby. I wanted them to be close in age, and two years apart is ideal. I hope I don't gain as much weight as I did with my first pregnancy. I'm about ten pounds heavier now than I was going into my first pregnancy.

before second pregnancy
I still have a little pregnancy pouch belly thing going on, though admittedly this picture hides it. Anyway, I'll update you on how many months it takes me to successfully get pregnant again and all that, and I'll be sure to compare pregnancies. I'll even do a side by side weight gain per month photo analysis!