Friday, August 8, 2014

Scarlett's Pink Lemonade First Birthday Party

If you have stuck with me throughout my unplanned hiatus the past couple of months, I am very thankful!  I have missed blogging, but just haven't had time for it.  But I'm completely DONE with school, and I graduate a week from tomorrow!  So I hope to be posting more regularly as well as catching up on all of your blogs (again).  Hopefully I don't fall off the face of the blogosphere again!  

***

I was so excited about Scarlett's birthday party!  As in, I started pinning things and decided on a theme back in December.  Seriously.  I knew I would have a busy few months due to finishing school, so I thought I better plan ahead!  I decided on a pink lemonade theme, because I thought it was cute and girly, and perfect for the middle of summer.  We decided to have Scarlett's party at our church cafe.  It turned out to be such a nice day!  

I was in the middle of probably the most hectic, intense 8 weeks of my life with my last externship for grad school.  So needless to say, I pretty much needed a vacation after this party in the middle of it all.  But thankfully I had so much help from family!  I would have never been able to put everything together without them, and I am so thankful.  

***

So here's my picture-heavy recap of Scarlett's first birthday party:

I made this banner in Microsoft Power Point, and it was so easy!  Who would have ever though Power Point would be the easiest program for crafty things like this, but it really is!  I used it a lot for Scarlett's party.

And here is a picture of the cake table.  The outer wall of our church cafe is pretty much solid windows from floor to ceiling, which makes for a beautiful setting!

My mom got Scarlett's cake for her from a nearby bakery where one of her friends works (The bakery at Hartville Kitchen).  I thought it was perfect!

The smash cake was adorable as well.

And my mom made some really cute cupcakes with lemon candies on top.


 

My sister-in-law Maria created this adorable fruit display.

And of course we had to have a lemonade table.  We decorated it with paper straws, lemons, the chalkboard I made a few years ago, and Lemon Head Boxes.


The centerpieces were flowers from my grandpa's garden that my mom arranged into pretty bouquets in mason jars.

My family members all pitched in to help with the food, and I really didn't even make anything!  Luke and I really do have the best families! On the menu was veggie pizza, chicken salad on croissants, tortilla chips and 2 different types of dip (buffalo chicken and jalapeno popper), and mixed fruit.  

I made food labels in Power Point and taped them to toothpicks that I stuck into lemons.  I found the idea on Pinterest, and thought it was so cute!

On the mantle we put some more lemons, Lemon Heads and tulle in my mother-in-law's apothecary jars, a "Keep Calm and Drink Lemonade" sign that I made, and another lemonade sign (I can't remember where that one came from!)  The pictures in the banner are Scarlett's monthly pictures (notice the colors of her onesies in her monthly pictures match the colors of the party.  One perk of knowing the theme way ahead of time!  ...And of having OCD. Ha!) 


We had to put a room divider up, so my mom and sister decorated it with streamers and lots of pictures of Scarlett mounted on scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby.

 ***

And now, onto some pictures of the party itself!

She was definitely a fan of her frosting!




The birthday girl, looking a little dazed and sleepy!  (unfortunately she did not nap well that morning).  I love her dress.  I just wanted something pink and sweet.  I found it on Zulilly.  I tried to get her to wear a yellow headband, but she is sadly beyond the point of wearing headbands.  She wouldn't keep it in for anything!

 This is her infamous "o" face.  She does it whenever she is excited by anything.  And this is my current favorite picture of her: 

Here it is again:

Me and my girl:

Here she is with Great Grandma Lorie

 And Papa (Luke's dad)

This picture makes me so excited for all these kids to grow up together.  Future bffs!

With Aunt Moey (or Moe Moe as Scarlett calls her)

And with the grandmas.  This was toward the end of the day and she was in desperate need of a nap!  

What a special day!  I still can't believe she's over a year old already!  Time flies when you're having fun!  But as always, I wish it would slow down!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

1 year old!

Dear Scarlett,
I am writing this almost a month late, but you are 1 year old now!  We can hardly believe it!

  

You have grown and changed so much in the past month (and year!)  You are less like a baby now, and more like a toddler.  We're so proud of the little girl you're becoming, and we love you so much!

You now have 8 teeth (4 on top, 4 on the bottom).  You are eating more and more real food each day.  However, you are still just a tiny little peanut!  At your 1 year well check you were in the 2nd percentile for weight, weighing in at 15 lbs, 6 ounces.  You are in the 12th percentile for height, at 28 inches.  Everyone continues to comment on how little you are, but you're healthy as can be!

In fact, you really haven't been sick at all in your first year of life.  There were a few times when you had a runny nose or a slight fever, but we think that was mostly due to teething.  I just want to say a big "I told you so!" to the people who were so worried about you being so small, because obviously you're one of the healthiest babies around!


On your birthday, you pulled yourself up in your crib for the first time!  You also had begun saying a few new words, including mama, dada, baby, bubble, no (which sounds like "nie")  pah for pacifier, and bah for blanket.  And since your birthday, your language has started to explode, and you say new words (or your version of words) practically every day.  It's so fun to watch you learn to talk!  

You got so many new toys for your birthday!  You love them all, but your absolute favorites are your little doll houses, your baby doll (which is the same size as you!) your elephant that plays music and spews out balls from its trunk, and your singing giraffe.  You also got a baby Bible, and you love it!  You always turn to the page that shows baby Jesus in the manger, and you love to point to the animals and to baby Jesus. I tell you that we will be celebrating that special day in a few months at Christmastime!  


On top of all of those toys, you are also obsessed with Elmo.  It's funny, because you don't really watch a whole lot of TV, so you don't see him on there very often.  But you have some Elmo toys and books and you love him so much!  We were walking through Target today and you spotted a big Elmo stuffed animal.  You gasped and shouted "Momo!"  (that's how you say Elmo, and it's adorable!)  It makes my day to see you discovering the world and getting excited about little things like that all the time.  

In the month before your birthday you did a lot of fun things!  Mommy was busy with my last externship for school, but we found time for some fun things!  We went to lots of parties for the 4th of July, went shopping on the weekends, and went swimming a few times.  You also spent a lot of time with Nana and Papa, Aunt Di, and Grandma and Grandpa that month since Mommy and Daddy were so busy!  


Here's what you looked like in your 12th month:

We celebrated your birthday with a big, pink-lemonade themed party with a lot of family and friends.  You had so much fun, even though you hadn't napped well that day, and were exhausted!!  You loved digging into your cake, and got frosting all over yourself!

Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you.  Your first year of life has been the best year of our lives!  You bring so much joy, and also teach us things about life each day.  This year went by so quickly, but I can't help but be unbelievably excited about the many, many years to come with you.  We love you more than words can say!

Love,
Mommy and Daddy 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

11 Months Old!

Dear Scarlett,

You turned 11 months old on Wednesday!  Look how much you've grown:


I can't believe we only have one month until you're a year old!  Time has flown by, and I'd do just about anything to slow it down. But every day you learn something new, and this is a really fun age!

You continue to be one of the most curious babies I've ever seen.  You are constantly watching everything, and you don't seem to miss a thing.  This makes it hard for us to stay a step ahead of you!  When we go out to eat, you love to sit in a high chair and people-watch.  I tell you it's rude to stare, but that doesn't stop you at all!

The craziest thing is that you still don't crawl.  You have mastered the "Scarlett scoot" and you get around so fast that way, I just don't think you'll ever crawl like a normal baby.  In fact, you are starting to pull yourself up on things, and can toddle around pretty well if someone holds your hands, so I think you'll go straight to walking.  In any case, you are totally mobile, and just not interested at all in crawling on your hands and knees.

I say this every month, but you constantly make us laugh.  You dance around, make silly faces, silly noises, and just love to make everyone smile with you.  You love to sing!  I've been singing The Raindrops Song to you a lot, and as soon as I get to the part that says, "standing outside with my mouth open wide" you start yelling "ah! ah! ah!"  Sometimes you just randomly yell it when you want me to sing the song.  It is adorable!  I've started singing Happy Birthday to you sometimes too, and I pretend to blow out a candle when I'm done.  I want you to be ready to blow out your candle on your first birthday!  And you already have the hang of it.  As soon as you hear me the first line of the song, your whole face scrunches up in a huge smile, and you break into adorable giggles. 



You are so friendly, too!  When we go shopping, you love to smile and wave as we pass people.  It takes me forever to get my grocery shopping done, because almost everybody stops me so they can look at you, tell me how cute you are, and talk to you for a few moments.  You LOVE the attention!

You've gotten 2 new teeth this month.  These were the hardest ones yet.  There was a whole week where you woke up just about every half hour, every night.  Mommy and Daddy almost lost our minds!  But then all of a sudden, the first one poked through, and ever since then, I haven't had to get up with you once in the night.  (Knock on wood!)  

Your favorite toys right now are your Peter Rabbit stuffed animal, your Elmo stuffed animal at Nana's house, empty water bottles, your little bouncy ball (you love to roll it back and forth), spatulas, and Nana's chip clips.  Yep, that's right.  You love to play with her chip clips.  It's funny the things you get attached to!

You also love your blanket and pacifier.  When you're starting to get tired, I put your blanket across myself, and you just bury your face in me.  We always say, "snuggle!"  when you do this, and I think you think your blanket is actually called your "snuggle" now, which I think is pretty cute!


You've gotten even cuter this month, if that's even possible.  You love to blow kisses, do the motions to "Pat-a-cake," do "so big!", dance, give high fives, wave (you wave with your whole arm now, and it's so cute), give hugs (which are just you touching your head to things.  We also say "noggin" to you, and touch our heads together.  I think Aunt Di started that!)  Like I said...you learn new things ever day!

You're such a sweet little girl, but very sassy, too.  When we picked the name Scarlett, it sounded like a very feminine name, but also strong and not too prissy.  I think it fits you perfectly, because that's exactly how your personality is.  You are so sweet, but you are strong too.  We hope you never change, and that you go through life as a strong woman who stands up and advocates for herself, but who also has so much sweetness, femininity, and love for others.

This is what you looked like this month:

 I can't believe that your birthday party is being planned, and your invitations are all ready to be sent out.  Time has gone too fast.  But I am so excited for your future!  It's definitely bittersweet to see you growing and changing every day!

We love you so much!!
Love,
Mommy and Daddy

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to Survive as a Working Mom

I have begun several posts recently detailing fun things we've been up to, like my first Mother's Day, Scarlett's dedication, Luke's birthday, and a recent day trip to visit with my sister.  But life has been crazy, and I haven't had time to complete any of them.  I hope to soon, because these are special memories I don't want to forget!  But tonight something completely different is on my mind.

I recently started my medical externship.  It is my final externship before I graduate in August.  I've been placed in a facility that's part rehab center and part skilled nursing facility.  I know I want to work in the schools, so spending my summer in what is basically a nursing home felt a little like a waste of time at first, to be honest.  Not only that, but since I went and had a baby in the middle of grad school and became an "off-sequence" student, I have to complete my medical externship in 8 weeks instead of 15.  This means that I am at my extern site 5 days and somewhere between 40 and 50 hours a week.  Factor in 2 classes I'm taking during said externship, and a 40 minute drive one way, and that leaves very little time for my family.  On week nights I have between 2-4 hours with Scarlett.

To say I've been depressed would be an understatement.  I hold on to Scarlett every morning and just bawl before I have to leave.  I hate it more than I can tell you, and for the last 2 weeks I've been wondering why God is making me go through this because I don't feel like I can handle it.  I waited so long to become a mom, and I didn't think I'd have to basically let someone else raise my child once I finally had one.  Luke tells me that's melodramatic, but it's how I feel.

Today I was at my externship site and needed to return something to a patient's room.  I walked in and the patient was just moaning and visibly upset.  I reached out to her and she grabbed me and pulled me close.  She was holding my hand and pulling me to her as if she were clinging to me for life.  I just sat there and hugged her for a good long while, and then I rubbed her shoulders for a moment, and pulled her blankets up tightly around her so she'd be warm and comfortable.  I told her that my supervisor and I would check on her throughout the day and make sure she was okay.  After all of that, she visibly calmed down and stopped panicking.  She had just needed someone to hug her and comfort her.  And in that moment, my attitude changed.  I believe God was telling me that he has placed me at this site for a purpose.

Scarlett is so lucky to have many relatives who can watch her each day.  Honestly, leaving her each morning is a billion times harder on me than it is her.  She probably doesn't even notice I'm gone during the day.  Unlike Scarlett, those patients don't always have someone to love on them and advocate for them 100% of the time.  So if I can't be with Scarlett all the time this summer, I'm going to put all of my energy into loving and helping those patients.  I am so lucky to have a supervisor who does just that every single day, and she's been a great example for me. 

I was watching "The Little Couple" the other day.  (I love that show...I think Bill and Jen are such a wonderful couple!)  If you don't watch the show, Jen is a neonatologist who works in a NICU at one of the largest children's hospitals in the country.  Obviously she has a very wonderful, rewarding job, but she has to work crazy hours sometimes.  She and her husband have adopted two children in the past couple of years, and I imagine it is very hard for her to be away from them.  But she said something in a recent episode that hit home for me: it's not about quantity of time; it's about quality of time.  This is such a true statement, and my mom even alluded to this when I was confiding in her the other day and telling her how hard of a time I'm having.  She talked about how I'd probably take my time with Scarlett for granted if I were a stay-at-home mom and got to be with her 24/7.  But since I'm only able to see her for a few hours a day (for this short period of 8 weeks, anyway)  every minute is probably filled with quality time.  I think this is totally true, because during my few hours with her, you better believe my total attention is on her.  I don't do homework, dishes, cleaning, laundry, etc until she's tucked into bed at night.  those few hours in the evening are our special time together.  I like to think that I spend the same amount of quality time with her as I would if I were a stay-at-home mom, even though the quantity of time is much lower.

So in a nutshell, if you are going through the same type of situation as me, I have two words of advice: 1. If you can't pour all your love into your child each day since you are not physically with them, pour all your love into those you were sent to serve or work with at your job each day.  God placed you where you are for a reason.  And 2. Don't dwell on the quantity of time you are missing out on.  Think instead about all the quality time you have together. 

I know these next 6.5 weeks are going to be hard.  But with this attitude, I can cope a little better, and I'm sure I'll learn a lot more along the way, too.  I fully intend to seek a job as a school speech therapist, where I will have holidays, nights, and summers off to spend with my family.  Once my kids are school-aged, it will be the absolute perfect set up.  But until that time, I might as well make the most of the situation I'm in instead of dwelling in depression like I have been.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

10 Months Old!

Dear Scarlett,
You are 10 months old today!


At your last doctor's appointment, you weighed 14 lbs, 3 ounces.  You are still so tiny, but much bigger than that 4lb, 12 oz baby we brought home from the hospital!  Your appetite has grown and you seem to eat a lot!  But you must have a very high metabolism, because you're just not gaining very much weight!  You will love this "problem" when you're older!

The biggest change in the past month is that you've become mobile!  The funny thing is, you're still not totally crawling on your hands and knees.  You can army crawl like a champ, using just your arms.  But the way you mostly get around is by sitting up and scooting around on your behind.  You've gotten really good at it, and you're really fast!  And it's kind of hilarious to watch you.  It definitely makes taking your monthly pictures a little difficult!  You didn't want to sit still!  That's why most of the pictures in this post are so blurry.
  

You've also learned a lot of other new things this month.  You love to sing and dance as always.  You've learned to do pat-a-cake, and you can do all of the motions at the right time!  Your receptive language is also growing each day by leaps and bounds.  In other words, even though you aren't saying any real words yet, you know what a lot of words mean.  Here are some of the words you understand: bottle, puffs, paci, blankie, "snuggle," (we tell you to snuggle and you think that means to bury yourself in your blanket), kiss, hug (you give us hugs and kisses on cue now, and sometimes spontaneously, too!), bath, hi, bye, kitties, ball, duck, keys, bubbles, bouncer, clap, sing, dance, no (although you don't always listen to that one!), etc. 

You are the friendliest baby, and have yet to meet a stranger.  You love to go shopping because you love to point, wave, smile, and STARE at everyone we pass.  This is kind of opposite of both mommy and daddy, because we are both somewhat reserved.  It is fun to see such a tiny little girl with such a big personality!  

You are also just so goofy!  You are constantly dancing around, making funny noises, funny faces, and just cracking up at random things.  You certainly keep us all laughing! 


Your favorite toys right now are your Sophie giraffe, your Peter Rabbit stuffed animal from Aunt Viv, a Frozen coloring book (you just like to look at Anna and Elsa on the cover), bubbles (Mommy blows them, and you like to pop them in my face),and all of your bath toys.  Bathtime is probably your favorite part of the day.  You splash so much, you drench anyone who is in the bathroom with you.  You also love to scream in the bathtub because of the way it echoes.

Speaking of screaming, you do that a lot!  Luckily, you never do it when you're mad.  You only do it when you're overly happy or excited.  It's like you become overtaken with emotion, and the only thing you know to do with all that excited energy is scream at the top of your lungs!

Lately it's been harder to put you to sleep at night.  You also don't always take the longest naps.  We think it's because you don't want to miss anything.  Lately, Mommy has resorted to singing you to sleep, and it usually works.  You seem to respond powerfully to music in many different situations (not all that different than Mommy and Daddy, as we are huge music-lovers as well).  Lately I have been singing "Songbird" by Fleetwood Mac every time I put you down for a nap or for the night.  I'm not sure how that even started, except that something about the melody seems to calm you.  And now I think you're just conditioned to fall asleep when you hear that song.  

This month has been very busy for you!  You had your first sleepover at Nana and Papa's house while Mommy and Daddy were in Columbus for the weekend, You celebrated your first Easter, Daddy's 30th birthday cookout, lots of shopping trips with Grandma and Mommy, a trip to the farmer's market, a trip to White House Fruit Farms, many walks through the neighborhood, and today, your 10-month birthday, is Mother's Day.  You've been awfully busy!

Here is what you looked like this month:

 We love you so much, and cannot wait to see what next month brings!

Love,
Mommy and Daddy