Long time, no blog, hey? I know, I know. I'm horribly behind on lots of posts...Michael's 13 month post, Michael's 14 month post, the end of breastfeeding (it's true)... and on and on and on. I'll get to it.
We spent the last week of April on beautiful Gasparilla Island, Florida and it was I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E! Seriously. I'll write another post, full of pictures and all of the wonderfulness that was our vacation, but it was awesome. It was so great to spend a week, just the three of us, with nothing to do, nowhere to go and just hang out on the beach. We just rented a condo for the week and it was perfect. Michael loved running and playing on the beach, swimming in the pool and collecting seashells.
We don't get to spend much time together as a family -- weeknights are a blur made up of eat dinner, play for a little while, go to bed, and weekends are always full of cleaning the house, running errands, working around the house and yard -- so it was really, really nice to have that quality, uninterrupted time with my boys.
Again, it was just SO perfect. We're already talking about going back next year!
I started reading Gone Girl this past week and...wow! I can't put it down! It's really messing with my head and I don't know what to think. I'm so eager to get to the end of it, which will likely be tonight, and I'm already thinking about what I will read after this.
I "got back into reading" on our vacation, because I had lots of time to sit on the beach and read (again, it was amazing). I embarrassingly had not read a book since Michael was born because "I never had time." I'll admit...when there are a million different things that I want to do with my very little free time -- blog, watch TV, sleep... -- reading doesn't often win out. But, thanks to a good book (see above), reading is about all I've been doing with my free time. I've even been staying up way too late to read more than I should. It reminds me a little of those days when I was sucked into the Twilight series and stayed up into the wee hours of the morning reading.*
My Mother's Day was pretty nice. Matt cooked me breakfast, I was showered with flowers, cards and a beautiful new charm for my Pandora bracelet and then we went to the zoo! We got a Zoo Pass this year, so we can go whenever we want and we had a lot of fun. It was a little chilly (about 45 degrees), but it was sunny and we kept moving, so it wasn't too bad. Michael loved seeing all of the animals and I suspect that he's going to really like going there this summer!
I feel so blessed to be a mother, especially to such a sweet, loving, adorable boy. I love him so, so much! He is so much fun and every day seems like it gets better and better!
Today, I went to the grocery store at lunch to grab a salad from the salad bar, as well as to pick up some deodorant (I didn't make it to Target this weekend, and realized I was running low, so...). In the deodorant aisle was a man (more like an old boy) "testing" the Axe body spray. As I slooowly approached, holding my breath, he looked at me and goes "oh, hi! That's the problem with these body sprays. Do you work here?" Me? Um, no. "Oh, ok." And then he walked away, out of the store without buying anything. I'm gasping for air, hoping that the stink cloud settling over the aisle won't seep into my hair and clothes (I do have to go back to work today). As I left the store, I saw said old boy waiting at the bus stop. Man, I felt sorry for his fellow passengers! So weird.
*I said a little. As in, the only similarity is that I'm staying up late reading.
A few weeks ago, our daycare had their annual Spring Celebration. There was food, a raffle, a silent auction, games, face painting... It was really bordering on organized chaos, but it was fun. Also, each class put on a skit or a recital of some sort.
Michael's class (made up of Infants 1, Infants 2 and Young Ones) went on stage first and they were the "Pirates Who Don't Do Anything." We had to bring in a plain white onesie ahead of time and his teacher dyed it red (pink) and painted a skull and crossbones on the front.
I really went back and forth on how I felt about Michael's first birthday party. Some days, I wanted it to be a big, elaborate party, and other days, I wanted something low key and simple. I think I settled somewhere in between and I am so happy with how it turned out.
After doing some searching / pinning on Pinterest, I decided on a Very Hungry Caterpillar theme for Michael's party. It was one of his favorite books for a long time, and I thought it would be pretty fun. After I looked a little more, it seemed like it was a pretty popular theme. This meant that it wasn't necessarily the most original idea, but there were tons of ideas online to help me plan.
I designed the invitations myself and was really happy with how they turned out (I don't know why I didn't think to take a picture of them before I sent them out -- duh!). I've also been obsessed with wrap-around labels lately and created a really cute address label for them all.
I was glad (and lucky) to have my mom visiting for Michael's party. Not only was it fun for all of us to have here visiting, but she helped me with a lot of the crafty stuff for the party.
We planned Michael's party to start at 3PM. I figured he is usually up from his nap by then, so he would be well-rested and ready to party when everyone showed up. Well, he woke up just as our first guests were arriving...so, perfect timing!
I ordered Michael a super cute custom shirt from Etsy for his party. I wish I'd gotten a better picture of it, because it was awesome (what can I say? Once our guests started arriving, I went into party mode and wasn't snapping as many pictures as I'd hoped.). But, it had a 1, a caterpillar and Michael's name on it. Sara also surprised us with a pair of Very Hungry Caterpillar Robeez that her daughter had worn for her first birthday! They were perfect and Michael wore them up until it was time to open presents, when he suddenly decided socks and shoes were for babies.
I knew I wanted to display Michael's monthly pictures (both with the monkey and without). We crafted two caterpillars to show off the pictures and hung them around our kitchen eating area.
We got a bunch of balloons (red and green) to put up around the house, and a few on our mailbox out at the road. I made a banner for Michael's high chair, again, fashioned as a caterpillar. Party favors were gummy worms and gummy butterflies (again, to continue with the theme), and some jelly beans for filler.
We served an array of Izze sodas, beer, wine and soda.
Food-wise, I took a cue from the book itself and served a bunch of fruit. Specifically, apples, pears, plums, strawberries and oranges. I made little tags for each, with the lines from the book (on Monday, he ate through one apple, on Tuesday, he ate through two pears, on Wednesday, he ate through three plums, on Thursday, he ate through four strawberries and on Friday, he ate through five oranges). I used a piece of each fruit to stick each tag in. It was all a big hit!
We also served a cheese tray, crackers veggies, guacamole and salsa with chips, quinoa salad, spinach artichoke dip, pulled pork and cole slaw.
The cake was a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and was actually a small "smash" cake for Michael and several cupcakes for everyone else. I figured he'd like carrot cake, as the recipe I use isn't too sweet and he likes banana bread and veggie muffins so he'd think this was similar. I was so nervous about this turning out. It was not surprising that both the red and the green frosting took a lot of food coloring and I ended up making WAY too much frosting (I wanted to make sure I had enough). I am so happy with how it turned out!
Michael, on the other hand, was not impressed. He poked at his cake, tried a little bit and cried to be picked up.
In his defense, he didn't seem to be feeling so hot that day. He had three upper teeth coming in (that turned out to take f o r e v e r to finally break through the gum) and I think having so many people around was making him nervous. And then, having all of those people watching him eat his cake, hoping he'd smash it all over himself was probably a little overwhelming for the little guy.
Michael received SO many wonderful presents. We have a great group of family and friends. He got a lot of great clothes, books, music (a Raffi CD!) and some fun toys. It was hard to keep him engaged during the present opening and I felt like I was moving really quickly from gift to gift to keep him somewhat interested -- really, I'd open a present say oh, how nice! and then I'd be opening the next gift. It was certainly a little chaotic, but fun.
And then! It wasn't until the end of the party that I realized we had completely forgotten to give Michael our present! I quickly reminded Matt and he ran to the back office to get it and bring it out, while I kept Michael occupied in the living room. It was a giant ball popper and he (and his older cousin) thought it was just the coolest! So, he spent the end of his party enthralled with it while the last of our guests said their goodbyes.
The last thing that I did for Michael's party was prepare a slideshow with pictures of his first year. I had it playing on repeat on our Mac, which is right in the center of the action. It ended up being crazy long (seriously, it's over 20 minutes long and YouTube gave me heartburn over posting it), but I just couldn't shorten it! I love pictures of my little guy way, way too much!
We had a great time and it was so much fun! We are certainly fortunate to have such a generous and amazing group of family and friends. It was a lot of work, but so worth it in the end and I am so glad I decided to put the effort into his party!
I've been sharing Michael's monthly pictures each month, but never showed them all together. For his birthday, I printed each picture to show and it was so fun to see how much our little peanut has changed over the course of the year!
Starting at one week and going through twelve months:
And, when Michael was one month old, I started taking his picture with our giant, 3.5 foot tall sock monkey to show his growth progression:
While I didn't necessarily notice a difference from month to month, it's pretty obvious to see how much he grew over the year. And, some of these pictures really crack me up -- so indicative of his personality at the time (e.g., 6 months and trying to eat the sticker off of his shirt, or 9 months and needing some assistance from Gumby to keep him sitting still and happy for a few seconds while I snapped a picture!).
It's just really hard to believe how quickly the past year flew by. All month, leading up to Michael's first birthday, I found myself thinking about where I was and what I was doing a year ago. I was hugely pregnant, about to be overdue and hoping with all hope that I wouldn't have to be induced. Of course, I was induced and we finally met our beautiful baby boy. The past year has been absolutely amazing and not at all how I imagined (it was much better).
But anyway. Michael is one. He is a thriving, healthy, happy little boy. His one-year check up stats keep him solidly in the 50th percentile for height and weight -- 20 pounds, 4 ounces and 29 inches long. Now, I say Michael is healthy and, overall, he is. But, this past month (much like this entire winter) has plagued us with some a bunch of dumb little illnesses that has had us in and out of the doctor's office (a "fever", suspected pink eye, a cold, a stomach bug, another cold...). He's checked out fine each and every time, but it's been annoying to keep going back there. Every time, he's been weighed and his "official" one-year weight is slightly lower than it was earlier in the month. I chalk that up to his being plagued by a stomach bug and not eating as much the few days leading up to his appointment. And, since he wasn't feeling great, he didn't get his shots at this appointment (though, he did get the blood draw -- both came back normal) and has to go back to get them in another week or so, when he's feeling better.
Biggest development this month is that he is now walking! He was showing some interest and started standing on his own more often. And, then, about a week before his birthday, he just decided to start walking! Within the week, walking became his preferred method of transportation and crawling was a thing of the past. Such a big boy! Also, because he'd been walking hanging on to our hands for a while, his first several steps were always with his hands up in the air. So cute!
Another big thing this month was that Michael "graduated" to the next room at daycare -- he went from the Infants room to the Young Ones room. With this came two major changes. First, once he moved, he needed to be on full table food. This was not really much of a change, because he was already eating pretty much everything they were giving him (seriously, he eats some crazy things at school, like salisbury steak and beets!). Second, by his first birthday, he needed to be only on cow's milk. I don't know that I can explain why, but this was giving me a minor panic attack. I knew it didn't necessarily mean the end of breastfeeding, and I had already cut back on pumping sessions, so I don't know why it had my stomach in knots, but it did.
As it turns out, the transition over to cow's milk went really smoothly. About a week-and-a-half before Michael's birthday, I started mixing cow's milk in with his breastmilk for school. And he did great with it. As I stopped pumping and kept burning through our frozen stash of milk, it was necessary. I used my last frozen bag of milk the week before his birthday and pumped for the last time that same day. After that, he was only cow's milk and doing great. He still nurses in the morning and evening, and sometimes right when I get home, too. It's working really well, there was no major drama and I'm happy with how it happened.
As already mentioned, Michael eats pretty much anything. He loves blueberries and we go through them pretty quickly. Another favorite is green beans. He also really loves the pouches of fruits and veggies, which is great (though, he sometimes gets a little messy with them and, if not supervised, has been known to squeeze the pouch all over his head)! Still really digging Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and goes crazy at the table if we forget to give him one.
Michael still has just the two teeth on the bottom, but it looks like his top teeth are going to come through any day now (at least two, but maybe three). This may be the reason he's been feeling so cruddy lately, too.
I still don't think that Michael has said anything that will officially count as his first word. But, he makes the "da da da" sound a lot and maybe says "dada". He also says something that sounds very similar to "dog". He does several signs though, which is very cool. He is starting to pick up a few signs and can sign more and milk. Our doctor said that the pointing is pretty advanced and she doesn't expect babies to be doing that for a few more months. Michael has been doing this for a few months now.
Sleepwise, Michael has been doing okay. He usually goes down around 8 - 8:30. He was sleeping until 6 or later, but this past month, he's been waking up around 4 and doesn't want to go back to sleep. Kind of rough. We tried bringing him into the bed with us so we could get a few more hours of sleep, but he wasn't having it. I'm sure it is related to his not feeling well lately and that, once he's feeling better, he'll get back into his regular pattern and sleep a little later for us.
This month, Michael has really started to show more of an interest in books. To the point of being obsessed with them. He is perfectly content to read a book with us over and over and over and over again. He definitely has his favorite books, but really likes them all. He also loves magazines and if we leave one out, he's quick to grab it and flip through the pages. I hope he continues his love for books and develops into a good little reader!
Michael is still in 12-month clothes. I feel like he's been in this size for months now. Occasionally, he wears a few 18-month pieces, but a lot are still too big for him. As I am getting ready for his birthday party and looking back at some of his pictures from previous months, I'm a little nostalgic for his super chunky thighs. He's really slimmed out and he has some long, skinny legs now.
Because Michael's birthday is "Pi Day" (3/14), we opted to give him some banana cream pie on his birthday, instead of a cake (don't worry, he had cake at his party...sort of...). He was really excited about it at first, but then not so much after he tried eating it. It was really the first sweets we have given him, so I think he had no idea what exactly to do with it. But, it was still funny to watch him with it (we obviously didn't give him the entire pie, but we did need to get a picture of him with it!).
It's really hard to believe a year has passed. It has been so much fun watching this little guy grow from a teeny tiny baby, into the little boy that he is today.