Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve Playtime with Family

My brother-in-law and his family are in town for the holidays, and this is the first time we've seen them since they moved to the Atlanta area about six months ago. It is therefore, the first time Jillian has been really old enough to play with her young cousins, Lailah (3 years old) and Mariah (2 years old). They spent some time together the day after Christmas, last night at Granny's house so us adults could have a few adult hours out together, and again today when Aunt Linda brought the babies over for a couple hours of play. It was pretty tough getting any decent pictures of the girls playing together - at those ages they were all over the place! It was great seeing the girls playing and having such a nice time together!

On Monday I ordered a new stroller and it arrived today! I really like the features of our big stroller, but it has one major drawback - no five point harness! For a little monkey like our Jillian, that is detrimental, as she has figured out how to climb out of it. I found it a while ago online and finally ordered it from; amazingly it arrived TODAY! I put it together and Jillian tried it out. It came with an iPod Dok with a speaker for baby's listening pleasure. This is exciting to me, since I got an iPod for Christmas! And a new coat, that coincidentally matches our new stroller. I feel so high tech and color coordinated!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Scrap Tire Playground

Today we decided to take advantage of the milder weather and check out the scrap tire playground at the Patapsco Valley State Park Hilton Area. I've been wanting to visit for a while, but wanted to wait until Jillian could really "play". She teetered around as best she could (the ground is a slight hill) and didn't do as much climbing as I thought she would. We played there for about an hour and a half, and she was NOT ready to leave and let me know it! The ground was colder and wetter than I'd have liked, but Jillian didn't seem to mind and had fun playing on the tires, chewing on sticks, falling in the leaves, and getting dirty!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Too Sexy for These Shoes!

Today we ventured to Stride Rite to buy Jillian her first pair of "real" shoes. Now that she's really on the move, I figured it was time to break down and do it, since she certainly can't go barefoot outside this time of year.

Here she is modeling her new shoes.

She had a tough time getting used to them at first, especially on the carpet, but she was determined to get the hang of it. Either that or practicing her runway modeling.

We also played with our piggy bank that we got for Christmas. Amazingly, she has already lined a couple up to put in all by herself!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Aftermath

On the way home from church today, we stopped at Krispy Kreme and picked up some donuts for breakfast. I made sure to get a plain cake donut for Jillian, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

After all our Christmas excitement, we spent the rest of the day hanging out at home enjoying our toys, old and new.

We tried out our new bouncy zebra! It's a little too tall for Jillian to do a lot of bouncing on her own, but she thinks it's pretty cool and really loves it when we give her a little bouncing help!

Jilly spent some time sitting in her new chair.

After doing some more bucket-head-walking...

Jillian relaxed and kicked her feet up on her trusty "rocking chair".

2008 Year in Review

Upon receiving all of our Christmas cards this year, it occurred to me that this year would have been the ideal year for us to include a little “year in review” to send out with our cards. We have done it in years past, but it’s been sporadic at best. Some of this may be a bit redundant for those of you who regularly read my blog, but here goes.

We have much for which to be thankful. We welcomed Jillian Elizabeth into the world on January 15th (almost two weeks late) whether she wanted to come out or not! Despite some complications, we were all fine and settling in at home by the end of that week. This year brought many firsts for me as a new mother and Jillian as a new baby. I have been fortunate enough to be able to be a stay-at-home mom and have worked part-time for a company called ActionLink, which provides merchandising programs for retail stores.

Over the year Jillian has grown from an average sized content baby to a rather tiny (5th percentile in weight!), VERY strong-willed, walking toddler. Since she is a very active little climber, we enrolled her in a class at My Gym here in Columbia (as a very early Christmas present from her NiNi and Poppop) and she loves her classes and visiting the gym a couple times a week for free play. This year I met up with a new moms group that I had been unable to join earlier on, but they welcomed Jillian and I and we have been getting together with other moms and babies around the same age since this summer. It’s been great for Jillian to make new friends and it’s been fantastic for me to meet other new local mothers.

We continue to have John’s son Josh every other weekend and for special occasions and vacations. He really loves having a baby sister and delights in seeing her and keeping up with her new accomplishments and feats. Josh is a typical nine year old, enjoying video games and Legos and is in Cub Scouts Webelos this year. He has picked up his father’s love of Star Wars and like his grandfather and me, enjoys taking pictures; we got him his first digital camera for Christmas. John and Josh are looking forward to going to NASA’s Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama through a program at his school this coming spring.

The real estate market’s slump did make its effect felt on us. We wanted to sell our townhouse and move into a single family home with a bit of land so that we could stop paying for a storage unit and John could have a real shop at home. Unfortunately, after six months on the market (and over 100 showings – UGH!), we had little interest and only one flimsy offer. Alas, is not the right time for us to move, and we will wait for another year or so to try again.

This year has also been one of reconnecting. Being somewhat technology-resistant, I’ve thumbed my nose at “social networking” sites, and resisted joining many. Lately, following John’s example, I have joined Facebook and Twitter, and I started blogging. Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it! Blogging has been a great way for me to share our adventures and photos with friends and family near and far, and the social networking sites have helped me reconnect with old friends, make some new acquaintances, and stay in touch better with family. I’ve also re-connected with some friends in person (where else but at Target?). It has really been great to get together with old (not in age) friends and see our kids play together!

Besides welcoming a new baby into the world, we have also started a new company, Enercient Systems Technologies, LLC. Enercient Systems Technologies is working to become a premier provider of wireless controls and sensors to the HVAC and building controls industry. Enercient was officially registered in the State of Maryland in October 2008 and will begin full operations in February of 2009. Enercient will provide wireless HVAC and building control systems utilizing the latest in wireless technologies and secure protocols. Stay tuned for more exciting news on this front!!

John and I continue to be involved at St. John Lutheran Church here in Columbia, where we have made some wonderful friends. John serves as the Facilities Coordinator and is a part of the Men’s Group, while I continue to sing in the choir and was elected to serve on the Cemetery Board. Jillian and Josh were both baptized at the church this year, Josh attends Sunday school at St. John when he’s with us, and Jillian loves coming to choir practice with me and even sings along! We’ve been introducing her to the nursery at church and she will soon be spending some more time there, since she is now fully mobile and a bit too squirmy to sit still through an entire service.

What a year 2008 has been! I expect that 2009 will be just as exciting and eventful. Happy holidays and best wishes for a great new year from our families to yours!!!

Melanie, John, Josh & Jillian Tindale

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas, The Final Installment

This afternoon we headed to Southern Maryland to visit with Bubby and Paw-Paw (John's dad) for their Christmas celebration. We arrived early and played outside on their kiddie jungle gym and swing. Then we munched on all the great food throughout the afternoon. After dinner, we got an amazingly decent photo of all of the kids. Then it was time for presents. Jillian finally got the hang of opening presents, just in time to celebrate her birthday in a couple weeks! She really likes bows, going around from unopened present to present pulling bows off of them. We headed home tired and with a car full of presents, including a Fisher Price Bounce & Spin Zebra from Bubby and Paw-Paw, which I put together after Jillian went to bed. She'll have one more surprise tomorrow when we get home from church!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas, Parts 2 & 3

Today we celebrated Christmas again, and again! This morning we went to Granny's (John's mom's) house. Daddy made a big breakfast for us all while we played, exchanged gifts, and caught up with Uncle Andy, Aunt Linda and the cousins who are up for a visit from Georgia. Jillian had the best time pushing around Mariah's baby stroller - she is really into things she can push around.

Then we headed up to my Aunt Betsy's house for some more family time, gift exchanging and feasting. We were all a little sad that Julie couldn't make it back from Seattle for the get together due to their weather conditions. Jillian even got to meet the newest addition to the family, Jesse & Kim's dog Stanley.

When we got home, Jillian played with her Lissi doll and practiced feeding her with a bottle. It's official - she has a WORD! Jillian's first word is beh-beh = BABY! She said it when she got her Lissi doll today, again up in her room while we played, and then again for daddy later on!

And again, Gus the cat had too much Christmas.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Baby's First Christmas, Part 1

For the first time ever, we stayed HOME this year on Christmas so that we could hang out and play with our new toys. I called this "Part 1" because tomorrow we will have Christmas parts 2 & 3 and Saturday we will have Christmas part 4. She was a little young to really "get it" and enjoy tearing into the wrapping paper, but she certainly enjoyed playing with her new toys.

Our bad cat Gus had enough Christmas.

Completely unrelated to Christmas, Jillian also had a great time with daddy's Redskins hat. We could have handed that to her this morning and she would have amused herself all day long!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Playtime!

This morning we went over to Melissa's for a playdate. Jillian was surrounded by older girls, but did really good, except she was definitely not the best sharer of the bunch. The ball popper was the biggest hit of the day. Molly was especially excited about it!

This afternoon, Jillian decided that walking was not hard enough apparently. She had to add some difficulty by putting her toy bucket on top of her head and walking around like that. Proving yet again that she is definitely a part of our family!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Jillian has lately begun playing "peek-a-boo" with her hands while we're riding in the car. This evening, I tried getting her to do it for daddy at home. Fat chance of that happening. Apparently while in the house "peek-a-boo" translates to "cover your ears". Who knew?

Here are just a couple snapshots of Jillian that I got from the first video that I attempted of the "peek-a-boo" experience - no peek-a-boos or ear covering, but some cute stills.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tough Day

Jillian hasn't been sleeping that great, due to (I think) a cold and new teeth coming in. Bad combination. Needless to say, today was less than happy for her. Boycotting naps and tears galore. But her NiNi did bring her an early Christmas present - her first Cabbage Patch doll, a preemie named Annabel Alma.

Jillian is actually giving Annabel a kiss here, despite it looking like she's eating her.

It still weirds me out to see Jillian up and walking about.

Enjoying(?) her teether this evening.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pooh Bear!

Today we went to our friend Ella's first birthday party. It was the first "official" birthday party that Jillian has attended, and she held up pretty well, considering she didn't get an afternoon nap. The party had a Winnie the Pooh theme and Jillian wore her ears the whole time we were there, and only took them off one time. I didn't snap any pictures of the excitement at the party, but I did put those ears back on for a couple pics when we got home.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Jillian received an awesome 3-6 month age sleeper as a gift at our baby shower from our friend Christine. Since she's always run on the small side, I probably didn't first put her in it until she was four or five months old. That being said, she is still wearing it. I tried to wrangle up all the pictures I have of her in this same outfit, and found pictures back as far as May. Apparently I didn't take any pictures of her in it during the fall, but rest assured, she continued wearing it. I will be extraordinarily sad when it comes time to pack this one away. It has taken her from her first experience with her Jumperoo to walking. Thank you Christine!!!






On a completely unrelated note, Jillian pushed an empty diaper box over to her crib today, climbed up on it, and proceeded to try and climb into her crib. This picture is not that great because my cell phone is all I had in hand, but you get the idea.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gym Time!

This afternoon we went to My Gym for some free play. They'll be closed for two weeks over the holidays, so we wanted to get in as much play time as possible!

The soccer ball won out as our favorite thing today, but Jillian still had fun trying to figure out the rock climbing wall and giving herself kisses in the mirror.

This evening we had fun playing peek-a-boo with daddy's work shirt. This went on for a while, but of course it was only the last peek-a-boo for which I thought to get out the video camera.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Friends and Forts

Today we hosted our playgroup and we had quite the turnout! It was a great time!!

Jillian has recently discovered how fun blankets can be and has decided that makeshift forts are awesome!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Tree

We've been trying to figure out how to do a Christmas tree this year. Jillian's main play area, our living room, is also where we do our, well, living. So that's of course where we could enjoy a Christmas tree. After a botched attempt at a 2ft 3-pack of "indoor/outdoor" trees from Target (which were clearly only meant for outdoor use, as they only came with stakes to hold them up), I picked up a fake 7ft, narrow, fake tree at Joann today, for 50% off. And set it up in the pack-n-play. Because clearly the baby won't use it. It's not our biggest or most spectacular, but it was relatively easy to set up and decorate (minimally because of its size). I was even able to fold down the upper branches to make room for our angel. We officially have a Christmas tree!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

We Love to Play!

Last night Jillian didn't think she was ready for bed. So after playing in her crib for about an hour and a half, we let her do some real playing and wear herself out a bit.

She learned that blankets can make great toys!

Today we went over to Melissa and Sadie's house so the girls could play together for a bit.

Sadie introduced Jillian to her doll, Bella.

Jillian played in Sadie's house.

Trying to get the girls to pose for a picture together was easier said than done.

Sadie showed Jillian how puzzles work.

Jillian played with the piano.

Then she did some talking on the toy phone.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Duds

Jillian has a new (to her) winter coat. And a great new hat and pair of mittens!

We went down to Virginia today to celebrate our friend's birthday. Jillian has always liked lemons, and it seems she still does, but she definitely made the sour face!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

For Your Viewing Pleasure...

Jillian can blow kisses.

Jillian can walk!

Monday, December 8, 2008


I baked my first batches of cookies today, gearing up for the Christmas season. I baked applesauce oatmeal cookies and mixed chip cookies (basically chocolate chip cookies with whatever miscellaneous chips I had in the pantry).

I gave Jillian an applesauce oatmeal cookie and she enjoyed it thoroughly.

She picked up every last crumb.

They were finger-lickin' good!

Lip-smackin' goodness.