Friday, November 8, 2013

1st birthday, letter to my daughter

Dear Matilda,

There is so much that I want to share with you. How you've made me a better person, how I can't imagine my life without you in it, how I hope we have the sweetest relationship for the rest of my life. I know these are all so cliche, but they are so true. You have made me question my very existence and what the world means, and how short life is, and how I just want to soak up every minute and not miss a single thing. I question everything, and doubt myself often. I wonder about God, and life in general. I fear. I fear for you, your safety, your dreams, my dreams for you. I pray that you will be healthy, and happy, and always have love in your heart and your life. And that I too will see you grow into a beautiful woman someday. An explorer, who loves adventure (like her daddy), but remains cautious (like her momma).

I want you to know how happy I am on this day. Happier than I am on my own birthday... and my own birthday makes me pretty happy! But I am also sad that you are growing so fast. I want to stop time, breathe it all in, make sure I've documented every little detail. It's a sickness really. You fascinate me. From your birth until now, every milestone, and smile, and cry, has been a learning and loving experience to cherish, which is why I'm glad that I can't stop time. I want to see what's next, and then what's after that... I look forward to those moments that come and go, and become memories to keep and store away for "someday".

I know you will hurt, I know your heart will be broken at least once, I know that you will sometimes think that you hate me. But you actually won't. I hope that your dreams come true, whatever those dreams are. Dream big, my girl.

I don't ever want to put pressure on you, but I know I will. Forgive me. Just know that you are loved. By me. By daddy. By everyone. I won't always be perfect, and I don't expect that you will either. I only hope that I can give you the life you deserve. I'll try. I'll try really hard! It'll be a great journey, and one we'll share.

I love you so very much,

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Month 12

Happy FIRST birthday!

I can't believe I'm the mother of a one-year old!
It's so exciting and sad, at the same time!

You had your 12-month well check,
and everything was great.
Here are your current stats:
weight: 22 lbs 4 oz (75%)
height: 30.5 in (90%)
head circumference: 18 in (75%)

You also had to have 3 shots sweet girl.
My least favorite thing EVER.
I hate seeing you scream with such fear.
You did well though, and it wasn't long before you were your happy self again.
Afterwards, the three of us went to lunch,
and you had some of our chicken and cornbread.
We're working on the whole table food thing!

As for the rest of your life right now,
you still aren't walking, you are holding steady at 2 teeth, 
and baby food is still pretty much your jam (temporarily though).

But a few things that you DO know how to do,
and are apparently pretty big milestones are
eating with your fingers, helping me get you dressed/undressed,
and turning the pages of the books we read.

There have been a few changes in your personality here recently,
most importantly a "mommy craze". You seem very upset when I'm out of your sight.
And just in the past few days, you've had some
separation anxiety when I drop you off at daycare.
It's also not as easy to go on long trips anymore.
You get fidgety around the 1 hour mark,
which doesn't bode well for our 3-4 hours we are typically in the car.

One of your birthday presents,
with help from Onnie & Papa Gene
and Ronni & Papa Charlie, and yours truly (mom & dad),
was a new tablet to try to distract you on those long trips.
Don't worry, we aren't handing our one-year old a new tablet!
It will be secured to the headrest, and act as a portable movie player.
We'll be testing it out in the very near future.

Another gift that we are excited about is a bicycle seat!
It sits on the front of the bike (behind the handlebars),
and we'll be trying it out as soon as we get you a helmet!
For now, daddy will just take you on trips around the house...

No change to our evening routine either, it's still dinner, 
a walk (although not in the recent cold/dark evenings),
and bath, nightly bedtime story, bottle, bed.
Sometimes it's very easy, and you fall asleep drinking that last bottle,
other times it's not so easy and you are swinging from the furniture.

 Food:  Same as last month...
You have a bottle first thing in the morning,
and you still get 3 bottles (5 oz ea) at daycare...
as well as food for breakfast and lunch!
Dinner in the evenings, usually meat and some sort of veggies or fruit,
and another bottle before bed.
You eat Cheerios and you LOVE Gerber Puffs (sweet potato),
 and you really like water.

However, after your 12-month well-check, this is ALL about to change.
I'm so overwhelmed with all the changes that are about to occur!

Sleep: Again, not much has changed (thank goodness)...
You are sleeping through the night... typically from 8:30pm to 6:30am.
I hope this stays this way for a LONG time!

Clothing size: 12-month clothes, and some 12-18 month/18 month.
Most of what you have worn your whole life has been hand-me-downs!
Toys: For your birthday, you got lots of new toys!
Some favorites are the Hape wood blocks, a stuffed giraffe,
a fishing game, and from our secret cousin from our online baby board
a Fisher-Price Go Baby Go Poppity Pop Musical Dino!

New tricks include: 
Walking along the walls/furniture/anything you can get your hands on.
Banging on the dryer, while dancing to your own beat.
Rummaging through your diaper bag to find the treats
that you then promptly bring to me to open for you.

Book of the Month:  
Well you got two new books for your birthday as well, 
so I'm sure we'll be reading those nightly for a while.

The first is The Line by Paula Bossio
(thanks Sanchez's!)

And the other was from Onnie called Frog Trouble by Sandra Boynton,
the beauty of this one is that it comes with a cd of the 12 country songs that the book is composed of.
All sung by various singers such as Alison Krauss, Darius Rucker, Ryan Adams, etc.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Week 52

I felt somewhat obligated to squeeze this post in,
you know, between the birthday celebra[tion] and the Month 12 round up.
I was looking back over the year, and it appears that we've never missed a week,
so my dear girl, we aren't going to start now!

Besides it's your final week of your first year! 
What will we do from here on out? Continue to document weeks for years to come?
I'm not sure. We'll have to see how this second year of your life plays out.

Funny story about the rocking chairs...
this was at the pediatrician's office, and they had sanded down the rockers on the child's seat,
but Brian (who loves to rock) was rocking back and forth,
so Matilda was mimicking him, and rocking back and forth, even though her chair wasn't.
I tried to get a video, but as soon as I got the camera ready, she stopped.

So, back to why we're here. 
Week 52. I cannot believe it. I'm in utter shock.
I no longer have my sweet little baby,
but rather a rambunctious toddler?
This is about to get interesting I bet!

A lot happened this week!
There was Halloween,

the end of iGoogle (to the dismay of your dad), 
your 1st ever birthday party,

daylight savings time (damn early darkness),
we fed the ducks on Sunday at Hampton Park,

and your 12-month well check!

And finally, here you are sleeping on your way to daycare.
It's gotten cooler, so we are practicing trying to keep your hat on.
Tomorrow we'll try mittens!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday party!

Matilda's first birthday is still a few days away, but we had her party over the weekend due to a conflict this coming weekend. There were several reasons that inspired the theme for Matilda’s first birthday party. The obvious reason is that I sing "you are my sunshine" to her every night before she goes to bed. It's always the go-to song that seems to lull her to sleep. The other reasons are pre-Matilda, starting with mine and Brian's surprise-inscriptions in each other's wedding bands. I had his inscribed with "one sunset at a time", where he actually went with "you are my sunshine" for my ring. Funny that we both chose quotes that dealt with the sun, and then of course it rained on our wedding day! Since moving into our house, we've slept under those same words each night, via a DIY painting project we did a while back. Another inspiration for the party theme was Matilda's very own nursery, which has a 'sunny day' vibe with the sky blue walls, red & white gingham curtains, grass green rug, and sun yellow ceiling fan. Of course the party day almost held the same fate of rain, but in the end it was a beautiful, sunny day!

I truly saw this party as not only a celebration of her first year of life, but as a celebration for Brian and I that we had survived the first year of parenthood. Not that it was an overly difficult accomplishment, just your typical-getting-used-to-caring-for-another-person woes!

I made several DIY projects for the event, starting with the invitations. I had fortunately bought a Groupon for Vistaprint which came in handy! So once the design was done, printing was a breeze... and printing is usually my weakness and always ends up taking way longer than anticipated, causing much anguish and stress. SO, this was definitely the way to go! I love the chalkboard craze right now, so decided to play off the popularity of that to add to the theme of the party. After downloading some free chalkboard fonts & backgrounds, and finding some clip art images online, I set off to create my one-of-a kind invite for my little sunshine!

We've also taken a picture in the laundry basket each month to commemorate monthly birthdays, as well as to chart growth, so I knew that I wanted to incorporate those photos, as well as the laundry basket itself into the theme of the party. Since the "you are my sunshine" theme lends itself to a sunny day, the clothesline seemed to go along with that. I decided to display her name on a banner of "laundry", hung with clothespins on the mantel, incorporating some of our favorite teams/colleges... Clemson for me, Tulane & Davidson for Daddy, and the Braves. The laundry basket was displayed below, holding toys to be easily accessible for the kiddos. 

As for the photos, I printed each one as a 5x7 and then created paper frames in the colors of the party theme, and hung them with pale blue ribbon from the picture rail above the couch, so they could be easily viewed as guests arrived.

I also love the smash cake photos that you see of 1 year olds with that first taste of cake, and it was only fitting to have a seat fit for a princess for this first experience. I had found an antique highchair that I painted a pale blue (more on that here), and then I decorated it with simple ribbons, balloons, and a homemade banner to dress it up a little for the big event!

I used toys from around her nursery to decorate the house and food table, anything that was rainbow actually fit the bill. My great Aunt Millie had given her a name puzzle when she was born, and it's rainbow letters were perfect as part of the centerpiece that also included her stacking rings and nesting bowls.

The food table was adorned with (mostly) yellow food, with some rainbow colored veggies and fruit as well. Pimento cheese sandwiches, cheese and crackers, bagel bites, popcorn, and lemonade. The yellow sun cupcakes were my mom's creation, inspired by pinterest, and they turned out great and were a huge hit! And the smash cake was from Sugar Bakeshop, where our dear friends David & Bill are the owners, and their cakes are always a treat! At the last minute, I decided to make chili in the crockpot, since it was easy and something substantial to serve!

I made pom-poms from blue, yellow, and gray tissue paper to hang outside on our shed (which served as the backdrop to the party), along with a Happy Birthday banner that I bought at Target several years back.

I visited my favorite antique store, Attic Treasures, in search of anything yellow, blue, or gray to use as vases or food serving dishes. I came across 4 beautiful clear turquoise glasses that I thought would look perfect with flowers to set around the house. For the other flower arrangements, I actually used old baby formula tins.

The activities for the day included croquet, which came to mind due to it's rainbow colors. It always takes me back to my childhood, when we'd play croquet in my grandparent's yard. My dad still had their old croquet set, and let us borrow it for the party! He also provided the cornhole boards for more fun in the yard, it is football season afterall.

As for favors, I wanted to include a fun activity for the kids (and adults) and have each family create a suncatcher to take home with them, only a rainbow 'sun' catcher would do. I found these in Oriental Trading, along with suncatcher paint pens, but I must admit that this was quite messy, and rather than have an 'activity', I probably should have bought actual suncatchers.

The blocks were a last minute "guestbook" that I found online. I thought it was such a great idea, and was probably my favorite thing from the whole party! I bought the blocks on Amazon for less than $25, just natural wood blocks. There are 80 pieces, and they come with a little pouch for storing them. Anyway, the idea is for each person to draw/write on a block and sign their name, so that she we always have them as a memory of the day when she plays with them. Here's the little sign that I made to go along with it...

The other sign you see in the photo above was originally supposed to be a poster, but that fell through, so maybe I'll try to print it again for her room someday soon, but it's also the chalkboard theme, and looked like this...

It was a perfect ending to a perfect year, and the best beginning of many celebrations to come!

And a few more photos from the special day...