Saturday, January 30, 2010

Katestravaganza, part 3

With the heavy (heavy for the South, that is) snowfall shutting down much of Middle Tennessee, we thought Kate's party would have to be postponed at least a day. Accepting that fact, we just enjoyed the winter wonderland, playing outside a little, and even having a weenie-roast over the firebowl for lunch!
Nala and Popi brought Kate this cute coat for next winter, but she gave it a test run today, even though she couldn't reach her arms through the wrist-holes or move very well! (It was kind of like the little brother in A Christmas Story!) She toddled around the driveway and I held onto the hood like a leash, to keep her from doing a face-plant if she tripped (which she did a few times). Fortunately, while we were playing and assuming there would be no party till the next day, Granna and Opa called and said they'd decided to venture out! The roads were treacherous in spots, and I know they wouldn't have done it for anyone but Kate, but they made it--and in pretty good time, if fact!

Kate had a nap while the adults ate dinner. (I had planned the original time of the party to fit perfectly between her naps, so she got tired around the time Granna and Opa finally arrived. No big deal, though. We're just happy they made it!) We served three kinds of chili--my white chicken chili, my mom's beef and spaghetti chili, and a new vegetarian chili recipe I found. (I joked that since my birthday is in the summer and we often grill out for it, I had no idea what to cook for a winter birthday. "A normal meal," my mom said, but I thought chili was a fitting and fun menu.)We played a little game in which guests had to put the photos of Kate in chronological order. This was pretty tough, especially since some of the pics were taken only a couple weeks apart! My mom got them all right, though, and won a Valentine mug full of candy. The birthday girl woke up in time to eat a quick dinner herself of white chili, cheese, and crackers, and then we got down to the business of opening presents. (You can see all five of her teeth in this picture. A sixth--the other top incisor--is breaking through, but it's not all that visible yet.)
There were a crazy number of presents. We may have gone a little overboard. (In our defense, relatives who were not at the party also sent gifts. You are all too sweet!)

She got lots of great toys, clothes, and books. One of the books was a photo book I made on KodakGallery. It was the story of Kate's first year, written in second person ("You were born on...") and chronicling all the special memories--big and small--from this wonderful year. It is my plan to make one of these for each child every year for their birthday. The book concluded with a letter to Kate from Mommy and Daddy, and then everybody at the party could write a little note in the back as well. I hope this will be a fun and special tradition for all our children.
Kate was starting to wear out toward the end of opening presents, and pretty much had a conniption as we buckled her into her seat for cake. It didn't help that she ended up putting the candle out with her finger--I was trying to hold her hands away from it, but she escaped, and she didn't cry immediately, but I think our collective gasp and cries of concern as we finished singing "Happy Birthday" sent her already-frazzled self over the edge.
Once she recovered from that incident, though, she really got into her cake, and YES, she made a huge mess! I'm saving those glorious shots for Wordless Wednesday, though. They deserve their own post.
As Kate demolished her cake, the adults enjoyed their own confectionary delight. I didn't get the layers even, but I still like the alternating-flavor thing I did. The cakes were all from mixes, but I did make my own buttercream frosting, and it was GOOD! I am not at all a food snob--I will use mixes and prepared foods and substitute lowfat ingredients without a thought--but oh, that frosting--with real butter and tons of powdered sugar--it was sooo good. It may be hard to go back to Duncan Hines after that.
When the party was over and the birthday girl was in bed, we sat back and marveled at the joy of this year. As our precious child and the first grandchild on both sides, Kate has just lit up our lives. We barely remember what life was like before her, and we are excited for every fun-filled, laughter-infused, love-abounding day and year to come.

Katestravaganza, part 2

We started Day 2 of Katestravaganza with a visit to the pediatrician's office for Kate's one-year checkup. The waiting room was surprisingly sparse (compared to the usual cattle-car type arrangement), which may have been because we were among the very first appointments of the day, but also because there was yet another big snow-scare going on, with schools closed and everything, though not a single flake had yet fallen. Thankfully, the doctor's office had not decided to preemptively close, nor did Kate's day care. I like snow in general, but was praying it would hold off this time so we could still have Kate's party.

She weighs just shy of 21 pounds (20 lb, 15 oz) and is 29 inches long/tall. Both of those are right at the 50th percentile, and we didn't ask about her head, but I'm sure it's still on the big side, as it has been all along. (Big brain!)

She did some yoga moves while waiting for her shots. As you see, her bottle is still in the picture (both literally and figuratively). The doctor told us just to "throw it away" and make her switch to the sippy cold-turkey.
She had to get a finger-stick to draw blood. She was not crazy about that, but she got a "Charlie Brown in Space" band-aid, which she kept trying to pull off.

Then we took Kate on to school, where they were having an open house and parents could hang out and eat lunch with their kids. So, it was fun to watch Kate play with her little friends at school. Her teachers kept saying how independent she is, and she proved it by not really caring if we were even there! She played and sat and ate as normal, barely paying any attention to us!
We brought a cookie cake for the little bears to share in honor of Kate's birthday. They wear big T-shirts when they eat, since they offer more coverage than bibs. The other kids all kept their piece on their napkin between bites, and created hardly any crumbs, but Kate had crumbs strewn all across her end of the table. She's a messy eater, like Mommy.
I spent the rest of the day baking and decorating cakes for Kate's party and visiting with my parents, who had come down early from Louisville to beat the snow. While we decorated and chatted, however, the snow started falling... and falling... and falling...
This morning, mere hours before Kate's party was supposed to begin, we woke up to almost 7 inches of snow on not just the grass, but the roads as well. My dad and Matt have shoveled the drive, but it would take a lot of shoveling to clear the way for Matt's parents to get here from Brentwood, so at the moment, the party is on hold until the roads clear up--hopefully by tomorrow. For normally inflexible me, I'm remarkably relaxed. I'm so excited for the party, but with all the preparations in place, there's nothing to do but wait.
The decorations are up...The cakes are decorated... The presents are wrapped...
The table is set...And the food is even cooking...But for now, we're just watching and waiting.

Katestravaganza, part 1

When I got home from work on Thursday, the 28th--Kate's actual birthday--we had a quick dinner and went out for Kate's first ice cream at Baskin Robbins. It was a nice way to mark the actual day, since her party would not be until the weekend. (Admittedly, not my idea, as a friend of mine did this on her son's first birthday a couple years ago.)

I love this picture. Kate's even doing the "I'm one!" finger pose. (We've been working on it.) I had a great cone of sugar-free Mocha Blackberry Swirl, rich with several of my favorite foods: coffee, chocolate, and berries. (No wine and cheese in there, but that would just be weird.) Kate had rainbow sherbet, but she didn't like it too much at first.

She opened up to it once we let her hold her own spoon. We had to refill the spoon with each bite, since she hasn't yet learned to scoop, but Miss Independent still wanted to feed herself each bite.

We also took a video. You still don't see Matt at all, but at least you hear him. Proof he was there. (He had Reese's Cup ice cream.)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

One Year Old

Today is Kate's first birthday!

We're kicking off Katestravaganza (a multi-day birthday extravaganza a la Jesstravaganza) with a regularly-scheduled Daddy-Daughter Day while Mommy goes to work, then we'll go out for Kate's first taste of ice cream tonight (well, the first one where she gets her own serving, at least ;0) I'm taking the day off work tomorrow--we have Kate's one-year checkup in the morning, and since we usually end up sitting in the waiting room for over an hour, I would be missing half the day anyway. Then there's a little event at Kate's day care--not related to her birthday, but parents were invited to stay and eat lunch with their children, so we'll take a little cookie cake to that and she can celebrate with her new friends. Then I'll spend the rest of the day getting ready for Kate's party on Saturday!

Also thanks to that baby journal I mentioned, I have a good list of when Kate hit what milestone this year. So here's a little rundown of when she did what this year!

1 week old: ate 2-3 oz every 2-3 hours

2 weeks old: first trips to Brentwood, church, Starbucks, and a sports bar

5 weeks old: first trip to Louisville

6 weeks old: first smile

7 weeks old: sleeping 7+ hours at night

8 weeks old: “so active” (compared to just lying there!) waving arms, kicking ball hanging from play gym, scooting backwards, crab-walk style.

11 weeks old: moved up to size 1 diapers, ate 5 oz every 3-4 hours

3 months old: was baptized, met her aunt and uncle for the first time, I went back to work. Sleeps 10 ½--11 hours at night.

4 months old: rolled over, ate 7 oz 4-5 times a day (worked perfectly with my five-a-day pumping schedule!)

5 months old: started blowing raspberries, started day care 3 days a week. Moved up to size 1-2 diapers. Ate 8 oz 5 times a day.

6 months old: started solids (whole wheat cereal), creeping, and sitting up!

7 months old: pulled up to a stand and started cruising within days after that! Started eating finger foods. She was a cruising expert by the time she actually learned to crawl closer to 8 months!

8 months old: started walking behind push-cart, got the swine flu. Started wearing shoes regularly.

9 months old: first steps!! Learned to wave and clap, and started preferring to feed herself her bottle.

10 months old: learned to climb stairs at grandparents’ houses (we don’t have any) and to say “mama,” though she doesn’t connect it with me yet. Also says “baba”—might connect it with her bottle. Only wants finger foods, no pureed baby foods.

11 months old: Started in the toddler room at a new day care. She had been taking a nice 2-hour morning nap and 2-hour afternoon nap, but now just gets one 1-hour nap on school days!

And now at one year old:
- She loves to climb—up onto the hearth or tables at school (12” off the ground).
- We’re working on the sippy cup, and she’s practiced some with a regular cup, fork, and spoon.
- She’s learning to blow kisses—yay!
- She says "baba" and "mama" and they are tenuously related to her bottle and me, but not
- She wears a size 3 diaper and a mix of 6-12 month and 12-18 month size clothing. I think she weighs about 21 pounds, but we'll find out at her doctor appointment tomorrow.
- She eats pretty much whatever we eat, and drinks a little whole milk at school. Her main liquid is still breastmilk, and in fact (sniff!) I am pumping for the very last time (for Kate, at least) as I type. I weaned down to 2x a day around Christmas and just 1x a day a few days ago, so I don't anticipate any engorgement or other problems. It's been a smooth transition, and I'm so thankful for the experience of making milk for Kate this year.

Happy birthday, Boo! I love you and am SOOOOO excited about celebrating your birthday!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Little Things

I wrote this morning about one little thing I don't want to forget about Kate's first year. I received a complimentary Birth to One Year baby journal with an order from (which I highly recommend, by the way) and have enjoyed making notes for each week--what new skills she was learning, what made her laugh, what made her cry... It's great having a record like that of all these little things, and on the eve of Kate's first birthday, I just want to cherish all these little details...

- How I called her “Littlefoot” in utero because of how I could feel her foot pressing out against my belly.
- How much I cried during the first few days at home, because she wouldn’t eat and because I worried she would dislike me, associating me with the stress and frustration of not being able to latch on and eat.
- How Daddy’s sneezes and the coffee grinder would startle her and make her cry.
- How she stuck her hand in her mouth all the time at first (played a part in the nursing difficulties).
- How as early as six weeks, she made a noise that sounded like “hi!” We got a kick out of it.
- How often she spit up—we never could burp her enough to avoid it!
- How many nicknames she had early on: Boo, Lil Bit, Sweet Pea, Les Enfant, Baby Bear, Baboo, Boobaloo, Boo-Bear, Barry-Bear, Kate-Bear.
- Her favorite toys in the first six months: musical fish and hanging beach ball on her play gym, her “iPod,” “Raffi” giraffe lovey.
- How awful I felt after work the day I returned from maternity leave. (That night and the second day were hard, but it got better quickly.)
- How she hated getting her schmutzy eye (or a stuffy/runny nose) wiped or picked at.
- How surprisingly great her day care experience has been. Started at 6 months. The ladies just loved her, and all the little babies (especially her “boyfriends” Killian and Kiah) love to play together.
- How good she is with new people. Day care and church people have accustomed her to meeting new people. She smiles and flirts—she’s “never met a stranger,” as they say!
- How she actually liked eating pureed prunes when she was constipated. (Yuck—looked like chocolate pudding, but we know better!)
- How “Old MacDonald” was her favorite song this whole year—she smiles, dances, and bops her head to it.
- How her major milestones seem to fall on holidays—first tooth broke through on Labor Day, first steps on Halloween (ok, the night before), first top tooth on Thanksgiving
- How she “bops” her head in a sassy little wiggle. (video of that here!) At first, I was worried she had a motor tic of some sort, but now she does it more just when she’s excited :0)
- How when she realizes we’ve left a baby gate open, she’ll look at us deviously, wave “bye” with more gusto than usual, and practically run (quick-toddle!) through the door!

We love you, Boo. A year ago tonight, we were smoking you out at Applebee's, and would soon go to the hospital in labor with you!

Cyclops Baby

With Kate's birthday fast-approaching, I am doing a lot of reminiscing about the past year, looking back over all the pictures we took and memories we recorded. There are so many things that I want to remember about this year--little things that make Kate unique and that entertained or touched us in this amazing first year of parenthood.

One of the little things that was ever-present for most of Kate's first year--and yet something we are likely to forget--was Kate's "schmutzy eye."

Within Kate's first couple weeks, even as she had a burst blood vessel (from the pressure of birth) still visible in her right eye, we noticed her left eye often had some gooky or crusty mucus around it. We asked the doctor about it at her two-week appointment. He said that her tear duct was probably just late in opening, and that it should open up on its own by the time she's a year old, "and if it doesn't, we'll just send her to an opthamologist for surgery." (This was the pediatrician without a great bedside manner.) Ahem...what? We weren't too worried about it, but still, for first-time parents of a newborn, you don't want to hear the word "surgery," whether it's minor or not.

It didn't clear up by her two month or even her six month appointment. It wasn't a huge deal, but it was noticeable, they way her eyelashes clumped together. People often asked "what's wrong with her eye?" Sometimes, when she woke up, her eye would be sealed shut. When that happened, I would call her "Cyclops Baby."

For months, I wanted to get a picture of "Cyclops Baby," but since it typically happened as she was waking up in the morning or from a nap, the eye had often peeled open by the time we'd gotten up and about enough to grab the camera.

I finally managed to snap this picture when Kate was with me on the church women's retreat in October (though at least one woman thought I was crazy and/or cruel for wanting a picture of this).

Wouldn't you know, the very next day, Kate came down with the swine flu. Her schmutzy eye got really bad for a day or two while she was sick, and then---nothing. It totally cleared up! Ever since her bout with the flu, her eye has been ungoopy, her lashes clean and distinct. Whaddayaknow?

It's silly little details like this that I always want to remember about my sweet baby's first year.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Project Life (Jan. 18-24)

This is Kate's last full week as an "infant" (i.e. under one year old) and she is more than ready for full-fledged toddlerhood. Her toddling is so steady and fast, she can now practically run!

Monday 1/18: I had the day off for MLK Day, and Kate had her first play date (outside day care, of course) with Becca Hill.
Tuesday 1/19: Now that the cold snap is over, we hung the swing Kate got for Christmas. She likes swinging, and giggles all the way :0)
Wednesday 1/20: When Matt walked into Kate's classroom at day care last Wednesday, the first words out of his mouth were "why does my daughter look like Pebbles Flintstone?" Her teacher had given her a ponytail on the top of her head. It was cute, though as the paranoid woman that I am, I'm now assuming that the teacher is judging me for letting Kate's hair fall into her face. I've been wondering if it's time for Kate's first haircut (how do you know?) but if we give her bangs now, they will be a pain to grow out later, so we'll wait. (When she'll tolerate a hair clip, it looks really cute swept to the side!)

Thursday 1/21: Sweet potatoes + tired baby = goopy orange face.
Friday 1/22: Not wanting to buy another shadowbox, I combined our "dating/engagement" and "wedding" shadowboxes and freed up one to display Kate's newborn items: the wristbands and cap from the hospital, a cross from her baptism, monogrammed bib (too cute to let her spit sweet potatoes on!), and a teething ring that was my mother's from 1951.

Saturday 1/23: Saw a pizzeria scene in a movie on TV, decided that's what we should do for dinner. And because I'm a mean mommy, I brought along green beans for Kate to eat along with her pizza! (Contrary to what the picture might imply, she was reaching right over the beans to get the greasiest pizza I've ever seen. (oh, and a year ago today was our due date.)

Sunday 1/24: We finally have a church nursery! Albeit, there were only two children in it, but I appreciate them setting it up. It was nice to be able to pay attention in worship for the first time in ages, and Kate had fun with her sitters and fellow toddler!
For more Project Life Tuesday, click over to The Mom Creative!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kate's Newest Tricks

Hearth-climbing and head-bopping are Kate's newest "things." Cute as can be.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sleeves Rolled Up

Kate always has her sleeves pushed up above her elbows. Only once have I actually seen her push them up herself. They just always end up that way because she's reaching and stretching and climbing as she plays.

I love it, my little, active girl.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Our First Play-Date

As a working mother, I romanticize the notion of stay-at-home mommyhood. I read blogs of SAHMs like Kelly Stamps and Liz Uecker and grow a bit envious of their carefree days running errands together, meeting up with another mommy-baby duo for lunch, or gathering with a bunch of other mommies and babies to play and kubbitz at someone's home--i.e. the play-date.

So, on MLK Day, how did we choose to spend our day off work? With a play-date, of course! We got together with our friend Nancy (who played tuba with Matt in the Brentwood High School marching band, way back when, and is now a United Methodist pastor, as is her husband) and her daughter Becca.
Kate's day care teachers have always told us how well she interacts with other children, but I've never just gotten to sit and watch for any significant period of time, and I was really excited to do so. At this age, kids engage in "parallel play," where they just play near each other and not necessarily with each other. So, there was some of that, especially as the girls got used to each other.

Eventually, they played with the play table and blocks "together" (i.e. at the same time) and even did a little dancing! Sometimes, they took toys out of one another's hands, but (fortunately) they were happy to share and did not get upset.
The only tears I recall were when Kate got a little rowdy and pulled Becca's hair, and I said "no!" which startled and upset Kate because she doesn't like being scolded.
All in all, our first play-date was a great success, and we look forward to more fun times with friends and friends' kids! If you have little ones and ever want to get together, just let me know!


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