Sunday, March 9, 2014

Twelve months

Bloggers note: Yes, we disappeared for months on end (just about nine months, I guess).  Much has changed.  I'll try to catch you up.  I may not keep at this long enough to catch you up completely, but will do my best!

March 9 marked twelve months since our Miss Kate made her arrival (detailed here) in our lives.  Because of her convenient Saturday arrival, her first birthday was celebrated on a Sunday with our church friends (where else would the "parish baby" celebrate, after all?).  I'll stick to the pertinent details here and follow up with a separate party post.  Kate finally tipped the scales over 20 pounds this month and is almost 30 inches tall.  She uses every inch to reach for things she really shouldn't (but thinks rather strongly that she should).  She is such a determined little girl, and I often find myself remarking that this is a wonderful trait in an adult and that we must nurture it (but, oh, what a trying trait it is in a toddler!).  Kate is quite an adept walker these days, and works on her climbing skills daily, much to mama's dismay.  She does fall often, as one might expect of a toddling baby, but rarely cries for more than a whimper.  We are grateful for her sweet temperament.

Without further ado, Kate at ONE:
We asked Abby Laub, who captures our annual anniversary pics, as well as Kate's newborn pics, to document her at this occasion, too, and were so pleased with how they turned out!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Eleven Months

Oh y'all.  I'm suddenly starting to suffer from the whole "my baby is growing up and I might break into tears at any moment" mama thing.  I think I've gotten through much of the last (almost) year without that feeling, but this month, as I watched my baby start the transition from 'infant' to 'toddler', it's gotten tough.  

So here is a rundown of Kate's eleventh month:
The biggest news this month is that Kate is walking!  Remember last month how she spent two weeks taking one step?  Two days into her eleventh month, we took Miss Kate to Gymboree for a trial class.  There were children aged ten through sixteen months in the class, and Kate was the only non-walker.  By the end of the class, it seems she forgot that she didn't know how to chain steps together and all of a sudden she took four steps in a row as she raced to join the others.  Needless to say, we joined Gymboree on the spot and enjoy taking Kate a couple times a week to play and learn.  We love seeing her make friends and learn new skills like climbing steps and ladders (of course, she has been eager to practice those skills at home, too).

Kate continues to be an inquisitive child.  Late this month we invested in locks for the kitchen cabinets, which she was not terribly pleased about. Speaking of the kitchen, Kate also continues to be a great eater.  We have been very pleased with Baby Led Weaning, and are so glad we chose this method to teach her to eat.  She enjoys feeding herself with her hands, as well as helping us guide forks or spoons into her mouth.  

It has been an extremely cold and snowy month, and we have had fun playing in the snow.  While she doesn't care for the cold, Kate does like the snow and loves her little sled.  The cold has led to many inside days.  Luckily, we have several instruments (and other household items that double as instruments when pressed into service by our little musician).  Kate loves music and especially likes hand bells, jingle bells, maracas and other shakers.

After learning to walk, the biggest change for Kate this month has been sleeping in her own bed. Kate had   been bed-sharing with us since six months when she became too active to sleep in her bassinet in our room. While we weren't ready to move her upstairs, she was certainly ready to sleep by herself. We used the long MLK weekend to introduce her to her crib, and were pleasantly surprised to find that she acclimated quickly to the new arrangement.  She quickly transitioned from waking several times a night to waking just once and often sleeping through the whole night (ten to seven or so). We haven't transitioned her to the crib for naps  yet; maybe next month!

After the two expected pictures above (the progression picture shows months 1-5 on the left and 6-10 on the right, by the way), I had to share this one more.  This is the first month in several that I managed to get a picture of Kate laying down in her chair.  Of course, she wasn't exactly a fan of that, but when I looked back, it seems she wasn't a fan of that in her first month, either.  So I give you Kate today, and Kate ten months ago:
Same chair, same onesie, same adorably miserable expression. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ten Months

Kate's tenth month was a big one for her and our family.  We celebrated her first Christmas in lots of ways: Kate was an angel in the church pageant a couple weeks before Christmas, she visited Santa with friends, we attended our first Christmas Eve service at St. R (especially special because two of the other babies born at St. R in the last year were there, too), J and I had our first experience putting together a toy the night before Christmas, we enjoyed Christmas dinner with one of Kate's godmothers and her family followed by Christmas dinner for the three of us at a local Chinese restaurant. After a couple days to recover from the excitement, we were off to celebrate the New Year!  Kate got a lot of practice walking in her new shoes at JE's parents' house where JE's brother and his family were also visiting.  A quick trip to Nashville to celebrate New Year's Eve with J's old friends D & E (and their wives and growing families) followed. Thankfully Kate continues to be a great traveler.

The most exciting developmental change of the month happened late in the month when Kate took her first unassisted step, moving between J and his secretary while she visited daddy for lunch for December 27th. We expected that first step to be followed by several more, but instead, she spent the remainder of her tenth month practicing that one step.  If she couldn't reach an intended target after one step, she would quickly drop to her knees and crawl the rest of the way.  She does walk especially well when holding something, pushing something, or hanging onto the fingers of someone she loves.

The most interesting thing we learned about Kate this month is demonstrated in her unwillingness to do something just because we ask for it.  Kate does things in her own way, on her own time.  We shouldn't be surprised, of course.  Our baby knew when and how to be born, and it seems she knows when and how to do everything else--in her own time.  We hope this stubborn determination will be a valuable personality trait later in life, but it seems likely to frustrate us in the short term.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Looking backward and forward

So it is customary this time of year for us to write a post looking back at the previous year and also to set some goals for the new year. Despite our lack of regular blogging this year (well, since March at least), we figured we owe this post to our future selves, at least!

First, let's look back.
We laid out our goals for 2013 in this post last January.  Basically, we accomplished half our goals for the year, which is actually on par with what we typically accomplish.  Inside, we finished the library and nursery (well, sort of...I've not done that mural I dreamed of), but the pool table is still on craigslist and in our family room..  We also didn't do anything in the living room, but we take on a few projects in our kitchen (talked about in this post; I really need to update y'all on that!).  Outside, we had our new deck built and we finished our new mailbox.  The shed is still in the way out back, and the planting beds out front are woefully neglected.
Our word for 2013 was "patience" and we think we lived that one fairly well.  First, we were very patient about letting our little girl arrive in her own time (despite our OB's best efforts to convince us otherwise).  And well, J has earned at least a thousand sainthood points due to his patience this year.  Patience is tough when you're a little sleep deprived, and our word was a good reminder to us throughout 2013 to exercise patience with each other.

Now, let's look at 2014.
Around the house, we plan to finish last year's projects and hang some family pictures (something we've not done since hanging our wedding pictures back in 2009).
Personally, J wants to make fitness a priority, and I'd like to wear shorts this year (Sounds silly, right?  I didn't wear shorts last year, and am fairly certain I didn't wear any in 2012 either.  So this goal is really about fitness and body image issues, but that's hard to say concisely).
Our word is perspective.  I had some great notes about that, but it seems Kate just deleted them while playing with my phone.  There's probably something telling in that...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Nine Months

Nine months--both the shortest and longest period of my life!  On the one hand, March seems like years ago.  On the other hand, this time has gone by so quickly that parts of it are a blur, almost as if they passed by in my sleep and all that remains is a sweet dream memory.

This month's picture of Kate is not the most technically perfect (even by iPhone picture standards), but it does capture Kate exactly as she was in her ninth month--

Standing!  (and very excited about that fact)  Kate is a great stander.  She didn't learn how to stand this month, but she has been working to perfect it.  She pulls up on everything--furniture, strangers' legs, walls, she stands herself up in the middle of the room by herself--a sign of great core strength, we've been told, she even stands (with some success) on soft surfaces like our bed and the couch.  While she doesn't stand for long periods of time, she has started to perfect what we call the 'baby squat'.  After standing for a few moments, she will drop down to a squat or crouch for a second, then stand back up. It's insanely cute, and I am sure that our unencumbered enthusiasm each time she performs this skill explains her own enthusiasm for practicing it.

Kate continues to grow along her own curve, adding almost another pound this month (she is nearly 19 pounds now) and measures 28 inches tall.  She uses the words mama and dada (sometimes with intention) and babbles a great deal, too.   She is learning to ring handbells, and still enjoys her weekly music class (though we missed a couple weeks due to Thanksgiving and mama's work schedule).  Here is Kate in her nine-month progression (months one through four on the left and five through eight on the right).

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Eight Months

Our precious baby girl is eight months old today--how on earth did that happen??  Kate is such an active, curious child, and we are so incredibly blessed to have front row seats to her discovery of the world around her!

Kate gained another pound this month and is right on track.  Still no "official" numbers as we graduated to a three-month check-up.  We did have a quick doctor's visit at the end of the month to confirm that her mama and daddy are paranoid first time parents.  All is well; we are.

After the major movement milestones of last month, Kate's motor skill development slowed this month.  Her biggest efforts in this area were put into finding her balance.  She stands independently for about 3 seconds (sometimes up to five; more often more like 1.5) every day.  We started music class one day a week last month, and late this month, she met two goals as a result: first, she played with the jingle bells briefly before chewing on them (typically, this is all she does) and second, she clapped on her own one night.  We clap a lot with Kate, both in and out of class, so it was very exciting to see her clap on her own while we applauded something she did.  

In place of rapid movement developmental changes this month, Kate has devoted her developmental efforts to verbal skills.  She says mama and baba regularly, though I don't think she has said either with intention.  Also, she has learned and uses correctly the sign for milk.  Her face has become so expressive, and I almost can't wait to hear a little about the thoughts going on in that little head.  As you can see in the progression picture below, she is eager to tell us all about it!

The other big milestone this month is societal, rather than developmental. Kate was baptized in the Episcopal Church this month.  She did great, and we were so happy to share the experience with family and friends (and friends who have become family)!

So that's our eight-month-old!  We certainly have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Getting crafty with pumpkins

So y'all know we love a good trip to the pumpkin patch (see these posts from 2008, 2009, and did I not blog about the 2010 trip? and how did I miss the pumpkin patch altogether in 2012??).  Anyhow, this year brought an extra special opportunity--Miss Kate's first trip to the pumpkin patch!  The places we've visited previously sort of specialize in more grown-up fun (corn mazes, etc), and I knew this year was really more of a photo-op kind of trip, so we chose the patch that I see most often in pictures on Facebook--Boyd's Orchards over in Woodford County.

From a picture taking/fall foods purchasing standpoint, it did not disappoint.

(Yes, that's a butternut squash in our cart.  It turned into a most delicious butternut squash soup later that day.) Honestly, from a 'fun to be had' standpoint, I wasn't particularly impressed.  The play area had a ton of fun looking things to do (huge slides, swings, and hay pyramids), but they charge $10 per kid and $7 per adult to get in and the adults can't even take part in the sliding fun.  Obviously we didn't pay $25 to watch other people's children play, but I'm not certain we would be up for spending that much when Kate is old enough to play there herself.

It might be worth going back for the pictures, though.

And the yummy fall food.  We ended up buying three pumpkins--one large one for the front porch and two small pie pumpkins that serve as the subject of today's post (I'm getting to that)--as well as the butternut squash and a small gourd that Kate took a liking to.  Oh, and a half dozen pumpkin donuts and a half dozen apple cider donuts.  Mmmmmm....

So anyhow, back to that craft I mentioned. We aren't typically pumpkin carvers around the MP, but I felt like we should have pictures of some sort of pumpkin related thing for Kate's first Halloween.  After a quick google search, it became clear that knives and babies don't really mix, but that water-based craft paint and babies totally do.  So I grabbed a bottle of black craft paint from my craft room, prepped one of the pie pumpkins with a contact paper stencil and let Little Miss go to town.  Dear Lord, it was a mess.  I spent more time in the bathtub cleaning her up than she spent "painting".

At least the picture turned out well, right?  Also, on the right, you'll see the pumpkin that I had a little fun with after Kate went down for her nap.  (We did buy two pumpkins, after all.)  These pumpkins will be sitting out looking seasonably festive for a couple weeks then we'll wash them down, roast them up, and enjoy some pumpkin pie!

Oh, and a little bonus craftiness--after picking out Kate's outfit for the day, I decided she looked like a little boy.  So I grabbed some purple tulle and black ribbon from the craft room and folded/stitched it together with a couple buttons to make a cute little "girl" hair bow.  Kate did a great job keeping it on her head!