Friday, November 28, 2014

Stella Anne's 1st Birthday Celebration!!

Stella's first birthday fell on a Monday, but we were in party mode by the Thursday before!  That Thursday afternoon my mom watched Stella while I went shopping for the party (I had went the Saturday before that for decorations and this trip was for food-I have a short shopping attention span!).

We opted to have Stella's party at the Community Center in Annawan.  It was only $25 to rent it for the day, and I was able to get in the day before to decorate!  We hoped to have it at our house, but Mark was just too busy to get the shop ready.  It was a good thing we decided to have it in town because it snowed the day of her party and was SUPER cold...record low temps.  She was born on a day full of tornadoes...her birthday is one for the books weather-wise!  Anyways, on Friday I packed everything up and headed to town late in the afternoon.  I picked the key up at the library and then Stella and I went to my moms.  We ordered pizza with Abby & Ryder and Mark joined us after work.  After giving Stella a bath with Ryder (wow did they enjoy that!  hysterical laughing!) and putting her to bed at my mom's (Stella and I were spending the night there to make the party preparation go smoother) Mark and I headed uptown to decorate.  He is such a good sport, he never once complained!  We went with a "Our Little Pumpkin" birthday theme, which matched the baby shower I had last fall (read all about that HERE).  I love fall, and it saved us money because I mostly used decorations from my house, plus some leftovers from the baby shower.  The place looked beautiful by 11:00pm!  Mark and I enjoyed decorating, we had some coffee and (he had) beers and made the most of it.  I have read several blog entries about the debate over "Pinterest Parenting"  (you know, those parents who go out of their way to decorate, throw parties, etc...vs. those who just prefer to wing it).  I gotta say I think both sides are right.  You have to identify your style of parenting and go with it.  If you fight your instincts you will be miserable and that will reflect on your children.  BUT...while you are going with your own flow, don't criticize the other team.  As long as you are doing your best to make your children happy and enjoying it along the way, you are winning.  There's no need for heckling.  As a stay at home mom and previous 2nd grade teacher, I ENJOY party planning, decorating, and projects.  And even though he'd never admit it, so does my husband.  Wow, anyhow, stepping off my soap box and back to the birthday weekend...

Mark headed home after decorating because he had to go into work for a few hours Saturday morning.  I stayed at my moms to avoid the half hour drive home and back again in the morning.  When I got up on Saturday I ran to Wal Mart to grab some fresh flowers, white chocolate mocha's, and a few misc. items I had forgot.  Then it was back to the Center to put the finishing touches on the decorations.  My awesome mom watched Stella so I could get this stuff done, and kept an eye on the food we threw in the crock pots that morning.  I went back to my mom's late morning to shower and get ready.  The party was set to start at 2:00 pm.  My dad and Mark came into town around 12:30 and we headed back to the Center to set the food out and blow up balloons (we bought our own little helium tank so we didn't have to wrestle balloons into the car).  The cake was dropped off at 1:30 and my mom and sister dressed Stella and brought her up at 2 (after a nap, can't have a crabby birthday girl!)

The party was so much fun!  After enjoying appetizers and socializing we started opening Stella's gifts.  All her cousins were such a big help!  Stella enjoyed holding the cards and laughed at all the cousins.  She LOVES little kids!  The wagon from Grandpa was a big hit and everyone got to take turns getting a ride.  The it was time for cake!  I thought Stella would really be into eating her smash cake, but it took her a little bit.  Ryder was only too happy to show her how to eat it :-)  She did eat a bit of it before she got bored.  Mark and I took her in the kitchen and washed her off in the sink.  Around 4:30 almost everyone was gone, so we started the clean-up.  NOT FUN!  My mother-in-law, dad, and Mark were a huge help.  By 9:00 my feet were swollen, I was super tired, and all too pleased to call the birthday party a success!  We loaded everything up at my moms and headed home to go straight to bed.  Stella sat in her bouncy chair and played with a balloon during the entire clean up, good as gold!  Man I love her.

I woke up still exhausted on Sunday but forced myself to unpack, put away, and clean everything so we could enjoy Stella's birthday on Monday.  We had a ton of extra food, so I sent some with my dad, some to work with Mark, and saved whatever would keep for Thanksgiving.

Stella's birthday was quite the day.  She woke up crying.  I figured she was just tired from the weekend, but then we realized she was trying to poop.  She had been struggling to poop all weekend, but always got a little out and never cried so I didn't think too much of it with everything that was going on.  Looking back she hadn't had a normal poop in 4 days, which is really unlike her considering she usually poops about 4 times a day.  Well, the grunting and crying just kept getting worse.  Jenny said try some OJ and Abby said a warm bath.  We did both.  By this time I was crying and Mark had to come home.  She just couldn't go and was so upset.  The doctor finally returned my call and said to give her half a suppository.  The pill kicked in a few hours later and she was back in business!  So for her first birthday Stella Anne got a suppository and some prune juice.  Yes, I know this is probably TMI.  But I share because this is how life goes.  A beautiful party and happy girl one day and tears and pills up the rear the next.  It was sure a birthday to remember (I'm just glad Stella won't)!

Was glad I got some cute birthday pix before the tears set in!
Happy Birthday Stella!  just keeping it real.
12 months of cuteness.

1 year pictures taken by my talented friend.  Got a few with Ryder too!  Just beautiful.
To see all of Stella's pumpkin birthday party pictures click HERE.  Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!  I have my house cleaned and am excited to bring in the holiday season and a fresh new month!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

12 Month Update...Our baby is 1 year old!!!

Stella Anne is officially 1 year old!  Sometimes I feel like it flew by, other times it seems like a decade ago I was laying in that hospital bed.  This past year has been quite the ride.  I love my daughter on a whole other level, more than I ever thought was possible.  But I must say it's been a challenge for me to find the balance between being "Brooke" and being "mommy".  I struggle knowing when to let go and how to balance it all.  I'm sure we all do, but I've always been somewhat of a perfectionist, Type A person.  While I wouldn't change a thing, I do realize my goals have shifted from trying to make everything "perfect" to just enjoying the "imperfect" journey of raising a family.  I know if I don't find a better balance I will fail on all fronts.  This past year has been wonderful, but I look forward making the upcoming year even better!

So...what have we been up to?  I can sum the past month up in 3 words:  harvest, Halloween, and planning.  With the cold, freezing temps and light dusting of snow the past week, harvest is officially over!  Mark even had a 3 day weekend this weekend!  For Stella's first Halloween we attended a 2 parties (one was Beau's birthday party and the other was a friend's Halloween party...both had beautiful weather and were lots of fun), and spent trick-or-treating snuggled up at great-grandma and grandpa's (and out of the cold!)  The planning was getting ready for Stella's birthday party.  I love planning parties!  It was a lot of work, but it all came together perfectly.  I will do a separate post on her birthday weekend very soon, but for today I'm just sticking to the basic 12 month update.  At her 1 year check-up, Stella came in at 28" tall (13%) and 22 lbs (81%).

Enjoying the last nice days of fall!
The Routine:
Changed things up a bit this month.  For food, Stella took four 6oz bottles throughout the day:  morning, before nap, around 4:00, and before bed.  She ate breakfast around 10 (waffle, pancake, oatmeal, or banana) and lunch after her nap (I have been trying to use up all my homemade baby food before switching to strictly solids.  She does well with texture now, just don't want to waste anything!  So lunch is casserole with applesauce, a veggie, or cottage cheese).  Stella also loves snacking on puffs while I get her meal ready, and she always has a water/juice mixture to wash it down.  At 49 weeks I switched her to the Toddler Transitions formula.  I wasn't planning on it, but it's much cheaper plus I had tons of coupons.  Now I will begin weaning her from that to whole milk.  I am still using bottles and her "baby" sippy cup.  I tried a regular sippy cup and she did a lot of choking and then refused it.  I plan to keep trying and get rid of the bottles in the next couple of months.  Everything I read says to put them on a cup at 1 year, but no way is she ready for that!  I think (hope) as long as she doesn't have a sippy cup in her hand 24/7 it won't affect her teeth, appetite, or whatever else they say it does!  At 49 weeks I also added the 2nd layer in her cloth diapers.  I was changing them every hour and they were starting to leak often.  The 2nd layer and bigger fitting solved that problem!  But now she HATES having her diaper changed.  She throws a fit, kicks and screams.  Might almost be time to do away with the changing table...and welcome a huge backache for mommy!  Stella is still sleeping 7pm-7am...the time change threw her off a bit but she was back to normal after about 4 nights.  She's now napping from about 12-2pm, but she's been crying out often and waking early lately.  I'm positive she's teething again, we polished off the first bottle of Tylenol at 49 weeks.  Fun.  We did her bath in the shower and it worked much better...she's playing in the tub so much she started to get our whole kitchen wet!
So I never did a baby food post, and I realized I kept putting it off because I didn't have much to say!  I didn't use any special equipment, I made 1 food at a time, whenever I had time, and it worked out perfectly!  Click the picture to read how I did it!
Loves pulling her bouncy chair down and playing with it!

Hanging out in the office playing "farm" while mommy works.

A few of Stella's favorite things:
  • Milestones:  Good news first.  She is now saying "mama" "dada" "hi" (with a wave) and "juice"  (more like "jjjjjjjccccee" but getting better every day!)  She is constantly babbling and talking jibberish.  She also "reads" (takes a book, holds it properly, and turns the pages).  She can put the rings back on her toy now and can pull the See & Say lever on her own.  She also "gives me 5" when I hold my hand out.  She's very independent and loves to play with her toys.  BUT.  She is developmentally delayed (gross motor).  Her doctor ordered X-rays of her hips to make sure there wasn't a physical problem.  Thankfully they came back fine.  But she doesn't stand, pull herself up, "cruise" the furniture, sit up from a laying position, or show any desire to crawl, scoot or walk.  He said we'll give her 4-6 weeks and then look into physical therapy if there are no changes.  Jenny is going to show me some stuff to work on with her.  I really don't want to have to do therapy.  I think she's just stubborn and content to sit, but I am still worried.  I will do what I can this next month and we'll just go from there.  Being optimistic, she is starting to lean over and put her knee down when she wants something far away.  But then she gets stuck and cries.  Amy gave us some baby bikes and she got a walk-behind lion for her birthday, so hopefully those will help!  She did scoot backwards on her Dora car!
  • Getting tickled.  She is so ticklish and laughs so hard!
  • Getting her nose sucked out.  Yep, wasn't just a newborn thing.  She laughed so hard when I had to pull it back out this month.  Crazy girl!
  • Singing at the TOP of her lungs in the car.  
  • Putting her hand in our mouths and feeling our tongues.  Girl is strange!
  • Balloons!  She loves them in stores so we splurged on several for her party.
  • Watching mommy vacuum.  Until I get out of sight, and then she cries hysterically.  Lucky for her our house is tiny and I'm never gone long :-)
Stella's favorite toys this month!

Every once and a while she'll get "on a roll"...literally!

"reading" in her swing

cruising on her Dora car

 Around the house:
  • Now that we have reached the big ONE I won't be doing monthly updates anymore.  I'll still update, probably every 3 months for the next year.  I have so much to work on this winter!  Mark has told me a hundred times he can't wait for winter to spend more time with us, and I'd have to say I agree.  I love nice weather and fall is my favorite season, but I always look forward to "hibernating" for the winter.  Just cuddling on the couch, working on projects, and taking time for myself.  I've been using this blog to keep track of Stella's progress, but this winter it's time to scrapbook, work on her baby book, and so many other fun and exciting things!  So I'll see you in February for her 15 month update, but after Thanksgiving I will do a post on her birthday party/weekend!!