Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dream Big

A new season of Dancing with the Stars kicked off this week. I have been a fan of this show since the beginning, although I do admit that I have cared less and less about some of the stars in the later seasons. This season they are bringing back the DWTS All Stars, aka the celebrities that did well and people really liked, so there are many fan favorites. Nice move ABC. Pun intended.

I will happily confess that it is my dream to be on Dancing with the Stars. So serious, not joking, would fly out to LA and be on the show in an instant. Back when I was teaching I hoped that there would be an opportunity for them to have a "nominate your favorite teacher to be on the show," and now I'm dreaming of a "nominate the coolest stay at home more you know" week. I'm not saying that I would be the most amazing dancer ever but it would be such a fun experience. Cameras filming you? Bring it. Beautiful costumes? Add a bit more fabric and I'll wear it. A crazy partner to dance with? I'm there. Bonus points if I could bring Ryan and he could be my dancing partner :) Need I remind anybody that I was in the Hawaiian Falls Flash Mob this summer? Plus I did 10 years of dance, lots of musical theater, and a year of drill team. Consider me prepared.

Maybe one day.... I might as well dream big.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Always a Bridesmaid

This weekend I helped to host a bridal shower for one of my best friends, Ashley! Our amazing, rock star friend is getting married next month so Saturday afternoon was all about her.

We planned a menu full of some of Ashley's favorite foods - spinach artichocke dips, fresh fruit and veggies, key lime pie, and cake balls. I made lots of tiny pies in cupcake wrappers so that guests could have a small taste of everything (or go back for lots more cake balls!).

The gifts. Let's be honest, it's fun to open presents at a shower that is in your honor. I'm glad that Ashley could be so spoiled by the people that love her.

We played Wedding Scategories and I pretty much rocked this game. I didn't win but I was the first one finished. This is a fun and easy shower game and could be used at a baby shower as well.

My friend Marianne made this awesome wreath and we pinned well wishes to it. I like that Ashley can hang it up with our cards on it for a while and then use the wreath somewhere else in her new home.

Marianne's home was the perfect place for the shower. I love the look of this room full of people that love Ashley.

 Bridesmaids! It's always an honor to be in a wedding for a great friend. Ashley and I have been friends for probably forever, or at least the past 8 or 9 years.

 The lone male. Pudge was crashing our party of girls but he didn't mind.

And Lola was as friendly as ever! Erica loved this sweet doggie. We all love little Lola.

 Some more great friends :)

 Ashley's family. Thanks to everyone who came out to shower Ashley with love!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pumpkin Day

Fall is here! Well, on the calendar at least...the weather forecast hasn't quite received the memo yet. I'm so ready for jeans and boots and stomping through piles of leaves. To celebrate fall's arrival our family celebrated by having a PUMPKIN DAY on Friday. What is a pumpkin day, you ask?

It started with a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, the first of the season. We all went to Starbucks and sat outside enjoying our breakfast.

Next stop: pumpkin picking! As in picking up a pumpkin from the pile at Tom Thumb. We picked a perfect pumpkin. We sat it out on the front porch when we got home and Eva was fascinated by it. (Side note: I am in love with her orange fall dress. She will wear it many times in the next 2 months.)

Then it was time for pumpkin painting! I kept it simple here and just had her paint a print out of a pumpkin rather than an actual pumpkin. We'll save that for next year.

Such an artist. I used this homemade paint recipe and put it in a squeeze bottle. I thought the squeezing part would be fun but she mostly wanted me to squeeze the paint on the paper and she'd smear it around. And eat it.

To end our pumpkin fun I made some candy pumpkins for Ryan and I to enjoy. My friend Kim gave me this recipe for peanut butter pumpkins. They are supposed to be bright orange but mine are much more of a harvest brown. I'm pretty sure that this happened because I used a mixture of peanut butter and milk chocolate chips instead of just peanut butter chips. Oh well, what they lack in color they make up for in deliciousness.

Happy Pumpkin-ing to my fellow lovers of fall!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Special Salute

My cousin, Aaron, is beginning his career with the Army in  October so last night our family met up to celebrate him. Today is his 22nd birthday so we were celebrating his birthday as well as his decision to serve our country. 

We met up at Texas Land & Cattle - yum! Aaron was pretty pumped about the chocolate cake he got for his birthday. The staff at the restaurant was so nice and honored him with multiple free desserts (some for his bday and some in honor of him joining the army).

I'm sure that my aunt and uncle will miss having Aaron around. I know it must take a lot of courage for Aaron to leave his home, his family, and his girlfriend. We are so proud of Aaron's decision to serve our country!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Take Me There

This weekend we went to East Texas to Ryan's home town of Hughes Springs. This was Eva's first trip there and only her second time to get to see Miss Joyce, Ryan's long time family friend. 

We packed up our bags on Thursday night after dinner. Eva crawled in the suitcase all by herself - I guess she was ready to hit the road! We planned on leaving at 8 PM so that she would fall asleep in the car for the 3 hour ride. It was honestly the worst car ride ever... 3 very long hours of crying and screaming from an exhausted little girl :(

The next morning was much better! We spent some time outside and saw some deer just past the porch when we were headed out to dinner. The land around Joyce's house is so beautiful and I have this dream of going there one year in the fall when Eva can walk around and crunch in the leaves. We usually end up going when it's hot or cold or rainy, but one year I want to go when the weather is perfect for enjoying nature.

Friday night we ate at Catfish Village, only the best fried catfish place in Texas! Eva wasn't really into getting this pic, but we took it anyway.

Cutie in a diaper! She kept crawling behind some recliner chairs and waiting for us to say, "Where is Eva???" before peeping out from behind the chairs with a squeal.

After munchkin went to sleep we worked on finishing up a puzzle Joyce had been working on. There was one piece that we couldn't seem to make a match for and kept joking that it just wasn't there. We got the entire rest of the puzzle completed and guess what...that one piece really wasn't there! Luckily we found it under some newspaper on the floor.

 We always play games when we go to Joyce's house. This time we dug deep into her front closet and found some old versions of Racko and Big Boggle. I was the champion at Racko!

Ryan snapped this photo of Eva crawling down the entry hallway and said that he has lots of good memories of walking into Joyce's home through this hallway.

And I promised Ryan that I would post these two baby photos of him. I really do see a resemblance to Eva in these photos. I think it's mostly the expression but also his hair. I can't believe that Ryan's hair was so light and wispy as a baby since it's so dark and thick now. Interesting.

We love Joyce and appreciate our getting to spend time with her. Eva had a great time visiting Hughes Springs and so did we!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

12 Months Old

12 months old?!?! That's what adds up to one whole year. (Obviously since I've posted tons of birthday stuff!) I decided not to do this post in a letter to Eva since I wrote her one the night before her birthday and this is only a week later. Instead I want to share all of the neat things that Eva is doing on a daily basis.

Monday afternoon we had Eva's 12 month check up at the pediatrician's office. Here are the official stats:
Height: 28 inches (15th percentile)
Weight: 18 lbs, 2 oz (5th percentile)
Basically, they said that she is petite but very healthy and growing at a normal pace for her. Since she still fits into plenty of 6-9 month clothes I figured she was small for her age. Plus if you look at the DNA she got from Ryan and me, it is unlikely she will grow up to be an Amazon woman. My grandma is 5'2", my mom is 5'2", I am 5'2" ... are you seeing a pattern here? As long as she's healthy, that's what matters! She also had to get blood work done (just standard, everything's good) and a few shots and I've never seen her cry so much for so long. Seriously an hour later at home she was still crying big fat tears. Broke my heart.

I wish that I had written down for myself Eva's daily routine every other month so that I could look back and see what our days were like, but I didn't. Here is what her days look like now:

8:15 AM Good Morning! Nurse and play for a while
9:00 AM Breakfast - usually fruit with yogurt or oatmeal
9:30 AM Play time
10:00 AM Walk or errands or the library
11:00 AM Nap
12:30 PM Wake up! Nurse
1:00 PM Lunch - fruit or vegetables and maybe some cheese or meat
1:30 PM Play time. This also my best chance for getting errands in because she is awake, her tummy is full, and she's very happy.
3:30 PM Nap
5:00 PM Wake up! Nurse again.
5:15 PM Play with Daddy when he get's home!!!!! 
6:00 PM Dinner - veggies and whole grain pasta or brown rice. Sometimes a few bites of what we're eating.
6:30 PM Play time or going with us to do whatever we do. Lots of night's we're busy with youth or other things during this time so Eva tags along.
7:45 PM Bath Time
8:15 PM Goodnight! Nurse and go to sleep
10:30 PM Dream feed
And then she usually wakes up once in the night to nurse again around 4 or 5 AM.  It's not that bad. Twice in the past week she's slept through the night so I'm hoping that she's headed in that direction :) (I know that lots of people would suggest letting her cry it out more in the night but for now I'd rather not. It's good to be able to make your own parenting choices based on what's best for your family.)

Looking at the photo above, you can see that Eva is still using a pacifier. A couple months ago I started saying, "Binkies are just for sleeping. You don't need one when you're awake," and now as soon as we come in to pick her up from her crib she hands us the binky. It's like her cute way of telling us that she's ready to be awake. Love it.

We spent many, many days at the pool this summer. She loved the wave pool at Hawaiian Falls. She would sit in her floaty and put her hands up in the air every time the waves hit. My future beach diva.

Aside from training for to be an Olympic gymnast, she's also enjoying play time in so many ways. She likes to dump out all the toys from all of her baskets. She never worries about the mess it will make and doesn't mind that somebody else will have to help clean it all up. When she hears music from her toys or on the iPod she bounces her little body up and down and dances. She likes to watch balls roll across the floor and likes to drop balls into containers.

I made her some homemade playdough that is safe for her to eat. Haha, I guess just because it's safe doesn't mean that it tastes good! It was made with lots of flour and salt... she had to learn not to put it in her mouth and to mash it instead. I also bought her some toddler crayons back on the first day of school - her first "school supplies." She mostly wants to eat the crayons so we're still working on that. I visit lots of blogs that have ideas of things to do with toddlers and this was a fun one - shucking corn (below).  A corn of cob cost 25 cents and it was fun to have her pull off all of the leaves. She liked the corn leaves much more than the cob itself.

At one year Eva can say  hi, bye-bye, Mama, Dada, Nana, and Papa. She can wave hi and bye-bye. She can blow kisses. give big wet sloppy kisses, and give a high-five. Eva has 8 teeth - 4 on top and 4 on bottom. She can follow simple directions like "Come here," "Give me the ball," and "Can I have a kiss?" .  Eva can do sign language for more, cup, milk, and all done. She can quickly climb stairs and knows how to go down steps on her tummy. When we hide something from her, she knows that it's still there and will look for it. She will even use a blanket or bucket to hide her own face when she wants to play peek-a-boo. It's pretty funny the first time your baby puts a bucket on her head and knows that she's being silly and playing a game with you. *** Update: You took 20 steps today without falling down!!!! 

 We're working on using a spoon and fork right now. She does a good job at sharing the spoon - I scoop, she puts the spoon in her mouth. I will sometimes let her use the spoon and bowl towards the end and that's always a big fun mess! She hasn't become a picky eater yet but I know that's very typical for toddlers so I'm ready. For now she is happy to eat most fruits and vegetables but will eat as many cheerios as I would let her even if she's told me that she's all done with the rest of her food. We've given her chicken and ham this month - she is a vegetarian no longer! She is also bottle free - only sippy cups for this one year old. (This isn't actually a huge deal since she rarely liked to take a bottle). She drinks water or whole milk from her cup although I am also still nursing her.

Eva is the best little helper ever! Putting laundry in the washer and dryer? She's there. Need something from the refrigerator? Right behind you.  It can be challenging but I love it.

As emotional as it can be to watch your infant grow into a toddler it is also so freaking amazing. There are times when Ryan and I look at each other and say, "WHO IS THIS???" She learns so many new things so quickly. We were watching her play the other night and noticed that the way she interacts with her toys is changing as she understands more and has distinct preferences. (Notice a lack of bows in many of her pictures? Distinct preferences.)  It sounds simple but it's really cool to see the changes in her.

 We love our sweet munchkin soooooo much!!!!  On to the next year.....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

1st Birthday Party: Let Her Eat Cake!!!!

As you can probably tell from previous posts I was very excited to celebrate Eva's 1st birthday. I was really happy with the way everything turned out. It was the perfect party and everything went so well. I heard someone say once that you don't really understand the importance of a child's first birthday until you've had a baby. Then you realize that the emotion and joy is so much more than just cake and presents. It's an accomplishment for the whole family! So true.

The guest list. In the party planning process we went back and forth about what to do for a guest list. Of course we wanted to invite every single person we know and love, but when we jotted down a short list it was quickly over 50 people and we realized that was a bit much for us. Instead we decided to just do family since even this was over 20 people. I know that lots of people have huge first birthday parties that are tons of fun, but I was very happy with making it a bit smaller, plus this gave us more time to visit with our family.

Check out that head table - 4 grandparents and 3 great grandparents. What a blessing to have them all there to celebrate! We are thankful for the multiple generations in our family!

We had a great time opening gifts. Our family is too generous! Eva got lots of cute clothes and fun toys. That girl is set.

Showing off her walking skills .... which grandma should she walk to? Both of them! 

 In the backyard for a few family photos. Auntie Erica did a fantastic job snapping these photos!

 And then it was time for.......CAKE!!!!!!!
See her face in the top left photo? That is the huge smile she had on her face when a roomful of people started singing Happy Birthday to her. It was priceless. She was not shy at all and soaked up being the center of attention. I don't know where she got that from :) Her first few bites were little pinches of cake before she finally dug in.
 I think she liked it! Haha, I just realized that the photo above makes it look like she ate that whole smash cake. She didn't - after the initial dig in I quietly removed most of the cake and left a small amount for her to finish off. Eva was so full of sweetness that she even offered to share a bite with me!

 Thank you so much to all of our wonderful family. You were the ones that made Eva's birthday so special. Thank you for taking the time to drive out to our house. Thank you for being excited for us. Thank you for being generous and loving our little girl. We love each of you so much!!!!!