Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day 212 - July 31

It's been hot this week. And it doesn't get cooler as the night goes on, really. At least not as early as Jason takes Fred for a walk.

So the poor dog comes home, needing copious quantities of water and a rest.

No sense in doing those separately.

Day 211 - July 30

It was a big doctor's appointment day today. One of the big benefits of having kids two days (and 3 years) a part is that you get to bring them both to the doctor at the same time for the big check ups!

So, as a way of documenting it, I'll give the stats real quick, though that has nothing to do with the picture.

Cate, at 1 year and 12 days old, weighed 18 lbs and 8 oz. That put her in only the 30th percentile for weight. She was also only 27 inches long, which I think also puts her around the 30th for that. I'm hoping she catches up on the height like Michaela did.

Michaela, at 4 years and 14 days old, weighed 36.6 lbs. She's actually back up to the 50th percentile after being down around the 15th or something at her 3 year appointment last year. She's 42 inches (and a little bit, I think) tall, which puts her in the 90th percentile for height. YAY!!!

Both girls have met or exceeded all their milestones and they're happy and healthy! Maybe a little too healthy, actually... Michaela hasn't been to the doctor for a non-well-child visit since before we left Kodiak, so she was a little scared of the whole thing. Our doctor is AWESOME, though, so she got over it pretty quickly.

Anywho, like I said, the picture has nothing to do with any of that, except that our appointment went late, so we ended up stopping for dinner on the way home instead of eating at home like we'd planned. So dinner was at Jason's Deli, where, if you've never been there before, you get free soft serve ice cream (self-serve) with your dinner.

Cate got her first taste of ice cream. She may have liked it.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Day 210 - July 29

I think the day after Twinkies hit the shelves again, Jason came home with a box of them. I could've gone the rest of my life without a box of Twinkies in my house.

Instead, they stare at me from the counter.

I ate one. It was the first one I'd eaten since I was pregnant with Cate and had a wicked craving for them one week. To deal with that craving, I bought a package of two at a gas station and called it good. Prior to that, I think the last time I'd eaten a Twinkie was when I was on STATEN ISLAND, sometime around 2002.

Now they just stare at me.
Did I say that already?

Day 209 - July 28

I finally got back to LensCrafters yesterday to have my glasses adjusted, again. Apparently I have crooked ears or something because they're never right no matter how much I have them work on them when I first get them.

So I've had this other pair of glasses for weeks and finally got to wear them!

And look, it's me!
(up close and with an unflattering iPhone wide-angle lens)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Day 208 - July 27

Oh my gosh, Cate had me cracking up tonight!

She found one of the mustache whistles that were a game prize at the birthday party last weekend and, I guess, thought it was like a pacifier.

She was letting it fall out of her mouth onto the couch so she could fold over like a taco and pick it back up with her mouth. Then she was giggling and rocking, thinking she was the funniest thing ever.

I tried to get a picture, but she stops everything when the phone comes out, unless she can see herself. So I had to turn the camera around and go the selfie route.

Never-ending laughs around here!

Day 207 - July 26

I'm not sure if I mentioned it here yet, but the donut place we stopped at "on our way" to New Orleans back in June opened a new location right here in Mobile.

It's near the newest Publix.

So I'm probably going to get fat because I like the newest Publix for its better selection of natural and organic products and I usually go shopping in the morning after I drop Michaela off at Mom's Day Out (soon to be school) and usually you eat donuts in the morning and these amazing donuts are less than a mile from the Publix.

Yep, I might actually have to start working out again.

Day 206 - July 25

Michaela wanted to try out her new scooter today. So, after I finally finished putting together Cate's new tricycle (didn't think that would take as long as it did), we hit the cul-de-sac for a short walk/ride/scoot.

And there, right at the end of the cul-de-sac, was a great picture subject.... a magnolia with a couple of blooms on it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Day 205 - July 24

Michaela got a little surprise from Daddy tonight... some new Hex Bug track he bought before her birthday last week and either forgot to give her or decided to wait on.
(Just confirmed... he decided to wait so it didn't get lost in the shuffle of the rest of the gifts.)

If you have kids and don't know what Hex Bugs are, you have to get some. I think these could be hours of entertainment with enough track. I'm just kicking myself that I forgot about them when people asked what they could get her for her birthday! I think we know what she'll be spending some of her birthday money on, though!

Day 204 - July 23

I'd like to thank Jason for passing along whatever nasty stomach virus he had late last week.

Thankfully, I didn't get it as bad as he did, but it sucked anyway. I'm still not feeling great, but I'm marginally better than last night. But this was my view from my bed last night and most of the day today.

Crackers. Water. Glasses.

Day 203 - July 22

Since yesterday was a picture of Michaela with the grandparents, it's only fair that today is Cate with the grandparents.

I took this one really quick as they were getting ready to leave for the airport. Thankfully, Cate is too young still to understand the going and coming. The same can't be said of Michaela, so it's better to not have this "last" picture with her. She cried. Then she cried more later.

Cate just was happy to be in Grandma's arms some more (and to play with her necklace). She spent a lot of time there during the 4+ days my parents were here. It's amazing to me how much she knows her grandparents, even when she usually just sees them on a computer or iPad.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Day 202 - July 21

Today was a big day. Today was the day that Michaela had to say good by to her pacifier.

I'm not a huge fan of taking away things that are important or comforting to my kids. And, even though we've been talking about not having a pacifier anymore after she turned 4, she's been anxious about getting rid of it, which made it tougher for me. But we're at the point with a pacifier that it could end up affecting her mouth development, so it's time for it to go.

Months ago, I said maybe we'd go to Build-a-Bear and make a special bear and put the pacifier in it. Then she could have it with her, but just not be able to see it or suck on it. And then, Mom called me the other day to say she really wanted to do a Build-a-Bear with Michaela when she was visiting and it all came together (read, I realized M would get her special toy and I would not have to fork over the funds to do it - win-win!!)

Anxiety aside - sort of - Michaela built a bunny for herself today. She calls it Fluffy Bunny and the bunny wears jammies (since M only used her pacifier in bed) and says "I love you. I love you, when you press its hand.

Naptime didn't go very well without the pacifier, but bedtime went marginally better and this shouldn't take too long to get used to falling asleep without it. I hope.

Here she is, proudly holding her bunny's house, and posing with Grandma and Granpas Jeff!

Day 201 - July 20

It's party day!!!

I will never throw a huge birthday party with a theme ever again. I don't know what got into me because I am NOT this person, but I just HAD to do a carnival and I HAD to make things myself, and I HAD to make it amazing.

And now, I'm just glad it's done. It was fun - I think all the kids really enjoyed themselves - and I'm pretty proud of how everything came out, but it was WORK. But there was no better way to celebrate Michaela turning 4 and Cate turning 1.

I'm only going to put three pictures up here, but I think I might have to put some others on our other blog (you know, once I update it is it looks like any of the last year happened). I could load this post down, but it IS only supposed to be one picture a day, not 20, so I'll go minimal.

The first picture is of the cake and sweet table. The second is Michaela blowing out her candles. The third is Cate digging in to her own little cake. Much like Michaela, she couldn't figure it out at first. But, once she did, she was all about digging in and not actually eating much of it. It was fun to watch!

So here's a little glimpse of our carnival...

Day 200 - July 19

At the beginning of June, I posted a picture of some amazing donuts we drove totally out of our way to get when we went to New Orleans for the weekend.

We no longer have to drive out of our way to get them (sorry, Bayou La Batrie... apparently we'll never find out what else you have to offer) since the shop, Sugar Rush, opened up a Mobile location this week.

Needing fuel to get party preps done, Jason went and got way too many donuts for us this morning. Then I got so busy I didn't really get the chance to try as many of them as I wanted to. But the glazed was amazing, and the blueberry was pretty darn good. And I already knew I would love the fritter because I had one of those last time and they're amazing.

It is dangerous that these are now so close by....

Day 199 - July 18

Cate is ONE!!!

This has been, hands down, the fastest year of my life. It seems like just yesterday that I was trying to get through Michaela’s third birthday party while contracting every 20 minutes or so, and getting excited about the idea of having my VBAC delivery.

Fast forward (like, when you get the 5 arrows when you’re zooming through commercials on your DVR) a year, and I’ve now got a toddler on my hands. A toddler. Oh my.

So what has Cate been up to in the last month of her first year of life? Well, the big news is that she’s walking. She took her first couple of hesitant steps just a week or so after turning 11 months and has been practicing diligently since then. We went from a few tenuous steps to a few more confident steps. Then there were more steps going a little more quickly until she learned to turn corners. From there, she started to just do laps around the living room. On about the third day that it happened, I realized that she’d spent the bulk of those days just continuously walking around and around the living room, just practicing her newfound skill. She’s still doing it a week later, but now, it’s with a sound track of baby talk.

On the talking front, she’s still not saying very much. I wish I could remember what Michaela was saying at this point, but I think Cate has fewer words. That’s ok, though, because one of them is “Mama.” It’s actually more like, “Mom-mom,” but I’ll take it. Michaela didn’t say “Mama” until she was much older – apparently she decided she didn’t need to because I did everything she wanted anyway – but Cate is all about it. I hear a lot of “Mom-mom! Mom-mom!” all day long as she tries to get my attention. She also says “Dada,” mostly when she’s watching him work outside in the yard through the backyard window. Her other big word is “baby,” though she says it, “Day-day.” But she loves to see herself in a mirror or the phone, and she loves any other baby she sees, so we hear that a lot. That’s really the extent of her vocabulary. I talk to her all the time, though, and so does Michaela, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until she starts putting it together.

Let’s see… sleeping. I remind myself pretty much every night that she’ll sleep through the night eventually. Her sleep schedule probably wouldn’t suck so much if it weren’t for the fact that I insist on staying up so late at night myself. She is, at least, taking naps mostly in the crib or pack n play now, so I’m able to get some things done around the house during naptime without either holding her, or being afraid of waking her up in the swing in the living room. In fact, we actually packed the swing away right around her first birthday, awaiting its sale. That was sad for me. Very sad. It’s just another reminder of no more babies to come. *sigh* Anyway, back to the sleeping… she’s been keeping with the one wake-up a night to nurse, and sometimes one other to check in and say hi (or, ya know, cry and wait for someone to come pick her up and cuddle her until she deems it ok to go back to sleep). We’ve even gotten a few 5 hour stretches, and at least one 6 hour stretch again. I’m eagerly waiting the time when there will be no wake ups. I wonder if putting her in her own room would help that process along, but I’m worried about putting her in there and having her wake Michaela up (they’ll share a room, eventually). It’s a catch-22 if there ever was one. So, for now, we just don’t sleep a lot. It won’t last forever.

Moving on… food. Now that she’s a year old, breastmilk no longer has to be her primary nutrition. Basically that means that I have to stop being lazy and feed her actual meals and snacks and stuff. I’m telling you, nursing is definitely the lazy mama’s way to feed a kid. At least when you get past the first couple growth spurts. Since the 11 month update, Cate has decided she doesn’t like frozen peas anymore, so those are no longer a go-to. She loves fruit of any kind, pretty much any meat we give her, and will even eat all kinds of legumes. She prefers if I simmer them in a little chicken broth and garlic instead of eating them just rinsed out of the can. I can’t say I blame her, though. Who doesn’t want a little flavor on their beans! I’m trying to get her to eat more veggies to go along with the two hundred tons of watermelon she’s eaten already this summer and I’ll also probably start to introduce more grains, just in small quantities. She’s had Cheerios and a few bites here and there of other things like bread, but never a full serving of anything.

Cate’s little personality comes out more every day. She thinks she hilarious and will laugh at herself for just about anything. One of her new skills this month was to tickle me and just laugh hysterically. She thought it was so funny to tickle my feet one night and has since moved on to tickling my neck and my tummy on different occasions. Too funny. She still loves her Daddy more than me and flips out when he gets home from work. Now, though, instead of just yelling for him to come see her, she scrambles down out of my lap, or up from playing on the floor to walk over to him as fast as her little legs will carry her. She will no longer crawl anywhere now that she’s got this walking thing down, and works every day to get faster. She smiles and flirts with strangers, waves to anyone and everyone – but usually two minutes too late – and chatters whenever Daddy is around. She doesn’t make a whole lot of noise when it’s just us during the day, but she’ll “talk” up a storm once Jason is home. She LOVES the pool and apparently thinks she can swim since she’ll dive head first off the step if you turn your head for even a half a second. She doesn’t love being in a float because she’d rather be in your arms, trying to swim on her belly and kick up a storm. She loves a bath – with or without big sister – but is not a fan of the shower (our preferred method for a quick rinse). And she really, REALLY doesn’t like being told no. Crocodile tears and a tantrum will ensue.

I think those are the highlights. I really and truly can not believe she’s one. I think everyone says that, but, seriously, this has just been so fast! I think I lived a little in denial that time marched on because I just don’t want my last baby to grow up. But grow she did, and my baby is now a toddler.

Happy Birthday, Bug!

Day 198 - July 17

My life has been consumed by planning a birthday party for about the last month. Just when I think I have it all figured out, I think of something else.

In this case, the something else was the NEED for button candy. You know, the stuff that comes on the paper strips. I realized I HAD to have that for the candy bar that I didn't really know I was having until a couple days ago. But once I decided on that, I decided I really did need the button candy.

So then I ordered way too much.

Did you know that this is what a full pound of button candy looks like? Yeah. That's too much.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day 197 - July 16

Happy Birthday, Michaela!!!

I can not believe that my first born is four. FOUR!!

For some reason, in my head, four is WAY older than three. Like somehow there is a giant leap between those two ages. I could pretend that a three year old was still sort of a toddler. But a four year old is most definitely a pre-schooler.

I think Michaela thinks there's a big leap, too. We heard a lot of "I can do _______ now because I'm FOUR!" today. And she also decided to walk out of the Watermelon Patch this afternoon when I picked her up from camp to go to the car alone because, "I'm four today, so I'm big enough to go by myself." Yeah, there was definitely a moment of sheer panic when I couldn't find her. Whew.

She also had us laughing this morning, which she is prone to do on a regular basis with the crazy things she said, but this was just too much.

Upon wishing her happy birthday and telling her, "You're four today!" Her answer, with incredulity in her voice, was, "I'm four? I'm finally four? Right now? I'm four?!"

Then, when Jason asked her if she was excited to be four, her answer was, "Yes! I've been waiting for this ALL YEAR!"

Yep, that's generally how it works, kiddo.

So, she's four. (How the heck is she four? I swear, this just happened, like two days ago.) She's ready to start sitting forward-facing in her carseat (we could probably go a little while longer before she really outgrows the Radian rear-facing, but I asked her today and she said she really wants to turn around and start using "Cowie" (her Frontier 85 carseat with the cow print) in my car, so we'll go for it. She's also signed up for preschool starting in just about a month - actual school and not just a fun mom's day out program. Four year olds also swim without floaties at all. They "listen to you and do what you say, right, Mommy?" They take naps (thank God!). And, thanks to a birthday present, they also ride a scooter.

That brings me to the pictures for today.

For a few weeks now, she's randomly mentioned wanting a scooter. I gave her a lot of "we'll see" and "I don't know if we need that... you have a tricycle and a balance bike that you hardly use." Meanwhile, I got an awesome deal on a Kiddie Kick Razor scooter on Zulily at least a month ago. It's not the fanciest scooter, but it'll get her used to the idea and see if she likes it enough to upgrade eventually.

The best part was her reaction as she opened it. She started unwrapping and said, very tentatively, "Is that a scooter?" And she just got this concerned look on her face, and couldn't open it fast enough. Then as she got more of the paper off, she broke into a smile and said, "It IS a scooter! I got a scooter!" I love when we get the present right!

Day 196 - July 15

Last year, on the night before Michaela's birthday, I got a wild hair and decided we needed to decorate a little bit to make it fun for her in the morning. It probably had something to do with the fact that I'd been having contractions for about two weeks at that point and wasn't entirely sure I'd get through her birthday without having a baby, so I wanted to make it special.

So at some late hour, we blew up balloons and stuck them to her chair at the table and scattered some through the living room.

This year, there were no balloons around since the party is a few more days after her birthday than it was last year, so we had to settle for some of the streamers that will be part of the decorations on Saturday.

To a 4-year-old, though, streamers hanging in your door when you get up from bed in the morning is pretty much the coolest thing. So it all worked out in the end.

Day 195 - July 14

So I mentioned the carnival birthday party back on my first day of catch up.

This is the disaster that is my office in getting all the parts of the party ready. My office isn't pretty on a good day (it doesn't get used as an office, but more like a catch-all room). This has just brought it to a whole other level of crazy.

Day 194 - July 13

You can always tell when Jason does the child dressing in the morning. How? Cate ends up in this tie-dyed Ben&Jerry's onesie (courtesy of his Uncle Jay and Aunt Bobbie Jean).

Anyway, that's not the point. The point is that Jason took Michaela out to see "Despicable Me 2" right around dinner time and Cate and I needed to find things to do to stay occupied.

A favorite is to turn the camera around on the iPhone and just look at herself. It's even better when we've been making faces at each other and she remembers that we were sticking our tongues out.

I love this kid.

Day 193 - July 12

Cate got her first exposure to live music at a restaurant during our date night. She even got a front row seat since we were later than usual getting there and had to wait.

The musician actually asked to take a picture with her right before we left because she was killing him. She was clapping, nodding her head to the music, and kept turning around to watch every last note. (Well, as long as she had food in her mouth....)

I'm proud to be the mom that introduced her to good live music at just shy of a year old!

Day 192 - July 11

Good grief am I behind. Geez!! In my defense, I've been very busy trying to get ready for the girls' birthday party this coming weekend. I decided to get all crazy and do a big carnival party. It's been more work than I thought!

So going back to last Thursday...

Michaela got to do a make-up day for camp at The Watermelon Patch (just one more reason we love them) since she was sick on the first day of the session (Tuesday - her scheduled day). In a funny coincidence, considering the carnival party prep here, they did a carnival day there. This included face painting.

Which she liked, but you just can't tell.

That's a balloon on her face.

Which you also can't really tell.

Whatever... good enough for the pre-schooler crowd!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Day 191 - July 10

18 years ago today, I walked through the archway of Chase Hall and started my career as a Coast Guard cadet (Jason, too).

If you'd told me that 18 years later I'd be ending my third year OUT of the CG and spending my days cheering on my newly-walking child instead, I would've thought you were crazy.

Yet, there I was today, cheering Cate on as she chose walking over crawling all day today, and even started to test herself by carrying things like cups while she was walking! She also did some clapping and yelling. She's getting good!

(Picture is a screen shot from video I took. I forgot to take a picture today!)

Day 190 - July 9

Poor, poor Michaela.

Six hours of throwing up from 4-10-ish last night. A night spent on the couch, restlessly sleeping, and then being woken up early by Jason having to get up for work. And then just still not feeling 100% meant that, after she gave up on trying to eat any lunch because she "just want(ed) to lay down on the couch and rest, Mommy," I looked over to find her conked out a little while before actual nap time.

This is a kid who doesn't fall asleep ANYwhere except her bed because you just might miss something if you do.

I hate having a sick kid.

(And, for the record, those pants are a size 6-9 month. Lands End baby clothes ran big, so they were really more like 12m, but, yes, they still fit just fine in the waist and are just getting to be shorter and shorter capris.)

Day 189 - July 8

I have a really good reason to be late with getting this picture up.

Michaela spent about 6 hours throwing up Monday night, so I was busy with that. The poor kid was miserable.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, I was having flashbacks with Cate. She got ahold of the old McDonald's toys that were some of Michaela's favorites when she was even younger than Cate, and was also wearing one of Michaela's old outfits. It just was a moment of weird to see her being so much like her big sister.

(And don't judge... Michaela didn't actually eat the McDonald's to get the toys; I did!)

Oh, and also this was a little self-portrait fun for Cate. The kid smiles the biggest when she sees herself!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Day 188 - July 7

There I was, putting on my shoes right before we were running out the door for church this morning. I had them on, but then decided to put some cushions in them since they're a ginormous 5" heel (maybe not that big, but close) and a little loose (I'm pretty sure my feet shrank after I had the girls).

We were already running a smidge behind, so I was in a hurry. Of course, the more in a hurry you are, the more things will go wrong.

In my case, it was a broken shoe and the need to go get the not-as-fun-or-cute plain black ones out of the closet. These red ones would've been so much cuter with my black dress with tiny white polka dots.

(They're fixed now, but that didn't help me for church this morning!)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Day 187 - July 6

I have two pictures for today... one of each girl.

The one of Michaela has a story behind it. I almost shot smoothie out of my nose laughing right before I took it.

So this afternoon, Michaela was outside riding her balance bike and then she decided she wanted to move on to her tricycle. We thought she was outgrowing the trike, until Jason realized he could move the seat back (duh). So, as he was doing that, I asked her to sit next to Cate on the driveway so I could take a picture. I had my big camera out, and Michaela had sweetly picked out her "Big Sister" shirt to go with the "Little Sister" onesie Cate was wearing today. It was perfect.

But Michaela was cranky, so she outright refused to look at the camera, let alone smile. I told her that was fine and I would just never take a picture of her again (not my finest parenting moment, but her attitude is starting to wear on me).

Fast forward a couple hours (there's a point to all this, I swear), and I'm sitting at the table with Cate while she finishes shoving every piece of food possible into her face. Michaela was playing with her Duplo blocks and says, "Mommy, can you take a picture of me with my ice cream truck? I'll even smile for you."

That's when I lost it. And once I recovered from nearly snorting (reverse snorting?) my smoothie and the laughing in general, I took a picture of her, even smiling.

The picture of Cate shows her new-found love of popcorn. I gave her the puffy pieces without the kernel in them tonight and, after an initial weird face from the first taste, she decided she liked it. A lot. So that would be her, waiting for me to put the next piece in her mouth, like a baby bird.

Day 186 - July 5

This is a ridiculous picture to be including here. But the only other one I took for the day was a completely unflattering picture of myself in my second pair of new glasses. It was bad.

So, instead, it's a screen shot of Cate's birthday present. It won't get to her on time since Zulily shipping is the slowest thing ever, but the price makes up for it and I'm excited to have found SOMEthing to give her. Poor kid is living in a world of hand-me-downs in both clothes and toys (her big Christmas present was Michaela's old exersaucer that we brought down from the attic!), so I'm excited to be able to give her something new for her first birthday at least!

Plus, she'll be able to use it for a few years. Score!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Day 185 - July 4

Happy Birthday, America!!

To celebrate, the Dorval family went to the Watermelon Festival in Grand Bay, AL. It was something.

All Michaela cared about was that there were inflatables, particularly the obstacle course one. She had so much fun jumping off this part of the course after climbing the wall up the other side. I'm not entirely sure how she got old enough to do this kind of thing, but I love seeing her excitement and enthusiasm and JOY!

Day 184 - July 3

Jason was out mowing the lawn this afternoon and the girls were playing in the living room while I was doing something in the kitchen. I peaked out to see what they were up to and this is what I saw. Apparently, Daddy was a fun show to watch. Or they were both waiting for him to come in because I'm chopped liver as long as he's around.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 183 - July 2

Know what happens when you go grocery shopping when you're hungry and you haven't had the world's best day?

You find yourself in the freezer section, just checking to see if your favorite Talenti gelato is on sale.

And then you see this... so you buy it.

Day 182 - July 1

Michaela has one criteria by which she judges the suitability of all dresses: twirliness (yes, that's a word).

I am constantly on the lookout for the most twirly of all dresses to add to her wardrobe. I'm pretty sure I hit the mother lode with my most recent find from Zulily. Jelly the Pug makes some super twirly dresses, but I think they out-twirled themselves with this one.

Michaela heartily approved.