Monday, January 31, 2011

Kate's 2nd Birthday Party

Saturday was Kate's party, and naturally we had lots of fun.
We had a jungle theme, and of course everyone knows how much I love decorating for parties! I made a "TWO" banner for the mantle out of animal-print scrapbook paper, ribbon, and paper vines.
 I also hung paper vines over the dining room table, where Marcel made a lovely chandelier.
Like last year, I made a book for Kate on KodakGallery all about her year, and had guests at her party write little notes in the back.
While last year, we only invited the grandparents (and it was a good thing, since the blizzard made it hard even for them to get here!) this year, we invited other family members and friends as well. The little ones just loved the balloons!
They giggled and swatted the balloons--which are still flying high, by the way, more than 60 hours after getting their helium! The party store squirted some sort of substance into them before inflating, so I assume that's what did it. Pretty cool.
 My favorite part of the party was just having all the kids together. I have such play group envy. Cousin Lexi loved getting to hang out with Kate again, and Becca wore leopard print in honor of the jungle party theme!
I printed jungle animal coloring sheets off the Internet, so the kids (and parents) could color.
I made a monkey cake with cupcake ears and a laffy taffy bow (which kept flattening no matter how many times I fluffed it up).

 Landon enjoyed the cake, it seems!
Kate got a bunch of great books and toys. (Thank you, everybody!) She's definitely got the hang of opening presents now, and she takes each little shred of wrapping paper to the garbage bag before continuing the unwrapping process--what a neat little girl.

I think Kate has the proudest four grandparents any kid ever had. They adore her so much, and we are so lucky to have such a loving, supportive family. Thanks to everyone for making Kate's birthday so special!

We love you, K-bear!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Kate at Two

Our little girl turned two today!
It's cliche to say, but we can't believe she's so big already! Not a little baby, she's becoming a little lady. Here's what she's up to these days...
The stats: at the pediatrician the other day, she weighed 28 pounds and was 33 inches tall. (That's about 60th percentile on weight and 40th on height, which suggests she's on the verge of a growth spurt.) She wears size 2T and a size 6 shoe.

The joys: Kate loves climbing on anything (and jumping off it too!) She likes to clean things with a mop, dustpan, or rag, and to load and empty the dishwasher. She loves yogurt, apples, cheese, and crackers. She loves Elmo, Abby, and the whole Sesame Street gang. She loves books, and can recognize many letters. Her favorite songs right now are Itsy Bitsy Spider and Bumble Bee.

The challenges: Two can be considered a difficult age (though I hear that three is actually more "terrible" than two) and Kate is undoubtedly a strong-willed child. Overall, we consider that a good thing, but she can be difficult to discipline. She gets sent to time out for things like banging on computers and swatting at our faces (both of which she does understand are no-nos). She only has the paci at nighttime now, which has to come to an end soon. That will be tough, but she's doing better about not having it at naptime either this past month, so she'll adapt. As the pediatrician pointed out, it may actually be harder on us than on her, since it's a last vestige of babyhood she'll be leaving behind.

If we need a reminder of her babyhood, though, there are still the diapers! She loves to sit on the potty and do the whole drill, but doesn't actually go. It will happen in time, and we're not in a rush right now. She's our little big girl, and we are loving every stage.

Happy birthday, Kate! We love you so much, and love being Mommy and Daddy to such a bright, spunky little girl. xoxo

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kate's ABC App

Kate's ABCs are a little un orthodox. They go something like this...
"Apple, B, Mow-Mow, D Daddy ... I ice cream... K Kate!... Mommy...O..."

She's learned most of her letters from an ABC puzzle we do, but this app is fun for practice!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday -- First Ponytail

Kate's hair is long enough to do a single ponytail (AKA Mommy's staple hairdo). Makes her seem so old. I'm sticking to the two ponytails for a while, though. Especially since she's stopped fighting me so much on them, even asking "two? two?" when I go to just put one little hairband in.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Birthday Party Preview

Kate will be two in less than a week!! Can you believe it? I'll be sure to give a milestones update soon, but right now, I've got to share about the party preparations, which are--of course--well underway. I love decorating for holidays and parties. And the fact that Kate is a January baby and has a party in late January is pretty much what gets me through the bummer of putting the Christmas decorations away (after January 6, of course).

So here's the sneak peak at Kate's second birthday party, being held next Saturday.
Here's the invitation I designed (with address and phone number obscured). We're going with a monkey/jungle theme, with a color scheme of pink, green, brown, and animal prints.

And a few tiny peeks at the decorations...

And what the heck could this little thing be about? Any guesses?

What's the cutest birthday party idea you've ever seen?
(I'll probably start brainstorming Kate's third birthday party by next summer, so I'll file these ideas away!)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kate-English, English-Kate

"Kate, can you say 'snow'?"
"Can you not make the 'sn' sound, or are you just being obstinate?"
"Hmm. Kate, do you see the snow?"
"Look, Kate. There's more snow!"
"More no!"

Mystery solved. We've had lots of "no" here this winter (yes, toddler defiance too, but I'm mainly talking about the white stuff now). As we drove home the other night, I asked her if she could see all the snow flying by.

"Bye bye, no! Bye bye, no!" she called out. She could also tell me that snow was white (though she prefers to point out "wewwow"--yellow--wherever she spots it).

I love Kate's little toddlerisms as she learns more and more words. Some sounds are more difficult than others, of course. And some, she's just chosen an alternate route. Take the grandparents' names, for instance:

Popi = Popi (pronounced perfectly)
Nala = Naya or Yaya
Opa = Apa
Granna = Shashi. We don't know why she didn't start saying "Granna" when she learned all the other names. We think the "gr" sound might be the stickler, but in the last month or so, she's called Granna "Shashi" consistently. Wierd.

The other night, we woke to Kate's request that we come retrieve her paci, which had fallen out of the crib. "Bapi!" she cried over and over as I came into the room. In my half-asleep haze, the word didn't register. "Bapi" is a fairly new addition to her vocabulary, and it is added to a collection of similar words that are often hard to discern. (Popi, puppy, potty, and now bapi. Mommy, Mow-Mow, and Elmo used to sound the same too, as did Daddy and diaper, but all those are pretty clear now.)

Anyway, she was wailing "bapi! bapi!" in a hysterical tone typical to crying toddlers. As soon as I said "oh, you lost your paci," she instantly stopped crying and said "yeah," as calmly and dryly as any disaffected tween. You can always sense her relief when you've figured out what she's trying to say.

Good thing we've got the Kate-English dictionary figured out in many cases.
milk = mo
more = mo, coupled with the sign-language for more
thank you = shu shu
cracker = crackoo (which can sound like "taco" sometimes)

Sesame Street is a big topic of conversation in our house. Elmo, Abby, and Cookie are clear as day (wouldn't PBS be glad, given these characters are their cash cows). But we also like to talk about...
Big Bird = Bi-Bir
Oscar =  Occar
Ernie = NieNie
Zoe = Wee Wee (I think that's my favorite)

I admit I'm a bit self-conscious writing all this, since there are other kids Kate's age who seem to be speaking in full sentences already. That could be the subject of a whole post in itself, the temptation toward "mompetition," but generally, I fight that temptation by reminding myself of the things Kate excels in. (More physical than verbal.) And she is using some simple sentences like "I need milk" or "Elmo needs socks." (yes, she actually said that this morning. I'll post those pics tomorrow!) I have to laugh at the demanding nature of her first sentences, because according to my baby book, I was known for saying "I need that!" as a young child.

I bought a little book called My Quotable Kid: A Parents' Journal of Unforgettable Quotes in which to record these Kateisms (and probably those of subsequent children, as it's a decently thick little journal). Each page is designed with speech bubbles in which to write the funny quote, and lines for the who, when, age, and where. I look forward to recording all those things--and sharing them on the blog, of course!

What are some of the funniest "kid-isms" your kids have used?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Looking for Your Dream Guy?

I pimped my friend Michael back in July, the last time Kelly Stamps did a big "show us your single friends" link-up. I really enjoy Kelly's blog, and since she married in her thirties and struggled with infertility, she has quite a heart for young women who long to have a family but just haven't met the right guy yet or have met him and just can't conceive! He daughter Harper is just a week or two older than Kate, and she's expecting another girl in March! Anyway, she's trying to use her blog's mega-popularity for good by having these linkups. Three couples found each other through her July linkup, and two got engaged over Christmas! (a little fast, but hey, my in laws met and married in that much time!)

My friend Michael had a couple dates with one girl he met when I wrote about him in July, but it didn't go anywhere. He's open to trying again, so if you live in the Atlanta area, heeeeeere's Michael!!

This is Michael. He became one of my best friends in college at Furman when we were the only two freshmen in an Advanced Composition class. When Matt and I got married in 2006, Michael was an attendant--on my side! (That's when this picture is from, so he's a little older now!) We called him a "bridesman," and Matt's best gal pal from high school was a "groomsmaid" on his side. Michael escorted my grandmother down the aisle and danced most of the evening with a friend of mine whose boyfriend couldn't make it... such a sweetheart!
Michael works as a consultant with Deloitte. At Furman, he double-majored in English and Urban Studies. He also has a Masters in Architecture History, and an MBA. He's been active with Mock Trial as both a student and coach. Very different from me in the politics and religion-department, Michael is a Baptist Republican. Eeek! (just kidding). He is quite a gentleman and would make a fine catch! I enjoyed many "just friends" dinner dates with him in college, and can vouch he makes an excellent dinner companion.

Michael is 29 and lives in his hometown of Atlanta. I would love to pair him up with a nice girl from that area. (Long distance is tough for everybody, so let's not go there.) If you are interested, leave a comment with your e-mail or some other way to get in touch with you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Working Mom Wednesday: Days Off

Working Mom WednesdayI have not had a full, five-day work week since the middle of December. There was Christmas, with some days off before and after it. There was our little excursion to Louisville. Then we had a snow day. And then, of course, this past Monday was MLK Day. While I feel a twinge of guilt at not really "observing" the reason for the day off in any formal way (other than by reading my hubby's blog post with audio of a King speech), I definitely enjoy the day off in the middle of January, when (ordinarily) one would be going through vacation withdrawal after the Christmas holidays.

Everybody enjoys a nice day off from work (beyond normal weekends, that is), and while weekends are great for errands, weekdays off are great for doing the fun things one just doesn't get to do ordinarily.  I honestly don't recall how I spent random days off before I was a mom--sleep in, shop, I don't know. I'm sure I enjoyed them, but it's kind of funny the rabid intentionality with which I approach days off work now. I daydream, make plans, and anticipate how I will use this "me" time. Not a moment must go to waste. Because I'm neurotic like that, even with my relaxation time.

Last year, I arranged a play date. I get so envious when I read the blogs of certain stay-at-home-moms and their fun-filled days of play dates and lunches with friends and their babies, etc. (Take that last sentence with a grain of salt because a) I love working and b) SAHMs, I know your days are very tough and not always fun-filled.) Anyway, I'd dreamed of the magical play date, so I kept Kate home from day care since I was home, and Nancy and Becca made the trek to Clarksville to play and visit. (Looking back at that post now, the girls looked so little!)

This year, when I learned that day care would once again be open when I was off work for the holiday, I decided to go ahead and take her in. First off, it was her first day in the two-year-old room, and I didn't want to disrupt the transition into that classroom. (The school does such a great job transitioning the kids when they move up, with progressively longer visits to the new room throughout the two weeks before the change.) Secondly, this scenario provided an opportunity for something else working moms--heck, parents in general--rarely get to experience... a babysitterless movie date!

It was a good day. Kate and I both slept in a little, so I took her to school around 8, then had some "me time" at Starbucks, enjoying a nonfat toffee nut latte and feta/egg/spinach breakfast wrap. I finished the novel I was reading, Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult. I am not a big fiction reader, but I devour Picoult's books. This one, especially, was riveting. Then, I dragged Matt along on a quest to Toys R Us and Target for the last of Kate's birthday presents. (I am always under the delusion that he will enjoy such excursions. I need to remember otherwise.) After much obsessing, I made my selection and we could move on to lunch (O'Charley's) and our movie. We saw Black Swan. It was good, but the R rating for "disturbing images" (among other things) was well-deserved. At points, it was almost like a horror movie, and I don't do horror movies. The dancer's descent into madness is compelling, and somewhat of an adrenaline rush. I like psychological thrillers, but one of my pet peeves is sudden things that jump out or make loud noises--especially if those things are creepily-morphing faces. Consider yourself warned.

So how do you spend your days off work?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Aunt Jessica!

You may have already seen this news in my post about our Christmas festivities, but I then redacted this part because the parents-to-be hadn't yet told their friends and more extended family. (Oops!)

The big news of Christmas Eve was that Kate will soon have a cousin!! Matt's brother Andrew and our sister-in-law Alexis shared the news with this cute ornament. We're so excited about our little niece or nephew, due July 21!!

I'm so excited for them, and for Matt and I to become an uncle and aunt! It will be hard for me not to buy every cute newborn thing I see and send it to them!

Does it ever seem like babies come in waves, where for a while, no one you know is pregnant and then suddenly everyone is? I think the mommy-blogosphere exacerbates that, because when I actually think about it, among our "real life" circles, it's only my best childhood friend and our sister-in-law who are expecting (due in April and July, respectively). But among the bloggers I read, there are several who are pregnant and several who just gave birth. And another for whom the baby they are adopting was just born!

Babies, babies everywhere! I love it! Especially since one of those babies will be our niece or nephew.
Congrats again, Andrew and Alexis, and best wishes for a joyful, uneventful pregnancy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Singamajig (with a brief potty update)

No, Kate did not get one of Christmas 2010's hottest toys, the Fisher-Price Sing-A-Majig (seems like this year's Furby, but they sing and harmonize if you get several together. Whatever.) But when Kate put the lid to her new teapot in her mouth (while sitting in a laundry basket and wearing a rubber bib, no less) I couldn't help but see some resemblance with the little musical critters... 

This time might be as good as any to document Kate's favorite songs now, at (almost) two years old:
  • Itsy-Bitsy Spider (which she requests by making the hand motions)
  • I'm Picking Up a Baby Bumblebee (AKA "a-bee". And might I say that the way Kate says "ooh, sticky!" is the cutest thing ever? "ooh, kicky!")
  • Ring Around the Rosey ("Ashes? Ashes?")
  • The Alphabet Song
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
She has always enjoyed music. I remember singing "She'll be coming 'round the mountain" to her when she was just a couple months old, and making up new, personalized verses as I went. ("She'll be wearing a pink bow when she comes...") She was nuts about "Old MacDonald" for a long time, but that seems to have passed in favor of songs with hand motions.

She starts in the two-year-old room at day care today, and I know she'll be coming home with even more fun songs and crafts and things she's learned (including enhanced potty skills!)

To update on the potty training, we didn't make much progress during our "intensive" week of training, having her wear training pants and taking her to the potty frequently, so we're back to diapers most of the time (and disposable pull-ups sometimes). She may just not be ready, but we have had progress in that she knows how to do the whole drill--pulling down her pants, wiping, flushing, washing hands, etc.--and likes to do it, but just doesn't "go" when she's on the potty. I'm not sure exactly what's up with that, other than that must hard to go in a way you are not used to going. Like when adults have to go in the woods, without a toilet, it feels wierd. As foreign as it would be for us to just pee wherever we're sitting, it must feel strange for her not to go in a diaper. They work on it a lot in the two-year-old room, though, and Kate always follows the lead of bigger kids around her, so I bet we'll see a burst of progress in the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Slices of Life

Just a few little slices of life from the last week...

Middle Tennesee has had a lot of snow this past week ("a lot" being a very relative term). Monday, my office was even closed, which was very surprising, a) because they never close, and b) because the weather really didn't look that bad. Turned out, this was an odd storm in that it got worse the further south one went. Up where we are, the one inch we got was mostly melted by noon! But in downtown Nashville, they got about four inches and a fair amount of ice, and an hour south of that, they got 10-12 inches! Crazy. So, schools were closed all week, and our office parking lot was a skating rink for the remaining four days of the work week.

Our little family snow day on Monday was fun, though. I got to watch Sesame Street with Kate, while she wore a new tutu and wand she got for Christmas. Little fairy-in-training :0)

That afternoon, I designed Kate's birthday party invitation (a monkey/jungle theme) and Kate worked on her laptop next to me.

Kate likes to divvy things out among various containers--usually Cheerios in her teacups or among the cups of a muffin pan--but she discovered she can serve up yogurt to numerous guests as well.
And for the record, I don't typically dress my child in short sleeves when there's snow on the ground, but when I went for a long-sleeved dress, she specifically asked to wear her yellow dress. The child loves yellow--or "wewwow." She knows other colors, but prefers to point out yellow wherever she sees it (and sometimes, where she doesn't--I've worried that she has some sort of yellow haze over her eyes where she sees everything as yellow!). She and Matt didn't leave the house all day, though, so it's okay.

Friday night, we had two social engagements (rare--since our social lives are usually pretty ho-hum!) and traversed a good portion of the midstate to get to these gatherings. Matt left Clarksville in the afternoon to pick me up at work in Nashville, we went to Hermitage for a dinner, then down to Spring Hill for our friend Nancy's birthday. I know these names mean nothing if you're not from here, but Google Maps tells me that is a one-way trip of 96 miles. Whew! So we got to Nancy and John's around 8:30, put Kate down in Becca's pack&play and joined the party. We probably would have left by 10:30 to drive the 80 miles back home, but they graciously offered us their guest room, so we just stayed over!

It was nice not to have to make that drive late at night, but especially nice that Becca and Kate got to play a little in the morning (since we didn't get there before bedtime the night before). These girls are such a sweet pair. I didn't take my camera, but Matt snapped a few pics with his phone... the girls playing with their respective Elmo dolls (actually, they've traded in this pic, and Becca is wearing a zookeeper costume) and below that, playing with kitchen stuff. (Becca got a kitchen for Christmas too!)

Thanks for your hospitality, John and Nancy! It was a really fun start to the long weekend.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fun Times

So, how are your New Year's resolutions coming along? Mine is pretty good, given that I only vowed to not blog unless I felt like it. Part of that is accomplished by not doing Project Life for 2011, since while sometimes I enjoy doing that post, many times it feels like a burden rather than a joy, and I don't want that.

Nonetheless, we still have fun little things in our family to share... they just don't always come one per day! Last Saturday was a particularly fun day.

Kate enjoyed breakfast on her new "big girl seat," i.e. two cushions stacked to form a cheap booster seat, rather than using her long-time eat seat or investing in a fancy booster seat that she probably wouldn't want to sit on anyway. The more it seems like what Mommy and Daddy use, the better.

Then we went to take advantage of a Groupon I bought for six visits to the local bouncy place for 52% off! When we first walked in, I thought we had wasted our money and would end up leaving after ten minutes. The inflatables were enormous, mostly with big slides, rather than flat bouncy-castle type things, and Kate seemed overwhelmed. We started out in a small, flat bouncy place, and then I went on one slide with her (adults were allowed so long as they didn't jump and offset the weight balance of little kids). She loved that slide, but I figured there was no way she'd be able to climb the ladders to go on the slides without assistance.
Of course, she proved us wrong. She is an amazing climber. Her coordination and balance just astound us. She LOVED the slides and went on them over and over again. Sometimes, she'd turn or end up on her tummy by the time she got to the bottom, but nothing scared her. She had a blast! (and when she emerged at the top of a slide, she'd smile and wave, seeing us at the bottom!)
We slid and bounced, bounced and slid.
Eventually, she got tired, though.
We can't wait to go back!

After a good nap, Kate was ready to wreak havoc that evening. When I loaded the dishwasher and started it, she decided that her little plastic spoons (from the tea set she got for Christmas) needed washing too, and she tried to stick them into the tiny crevace between the top of the dishwasher and the bottom of the counter. (See Exhibit A, where I am pointing with the green swizzle stick.)

Three of the four fell to the floor as I shooed her away, but one made it in! The crevace was too small even for my index finger to fit in, so we had to fish it out with my pinkies and a pair of tweezers. Oh, Kate! Better than an M&M up her nose or something, but still...


Blog Widget by LinkWithin