Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First Birthday Party

I feel like somewhat of a failure as a mom when it came to Kayla's first birthday party.  The first birthday gets built up as the whole big thing and I just didn't have time to do anything.  Literally everyone else did most of the work for the party.

My sister made the invitations...which were stinking adorable and a really great start to the theme we picked.  Just with moving and everything I didn't know how to find time to make decorations and plan a menu and get a cake.  My Mom made a really great cake with a little extra piece for Kayla.  My mother-in-law did practically all the cooking.  So thank you to the amazing family I have for pulling something out.

So it wasn't this dream party that I had in mind.  But I realized that it doesn't really matter, because my whole family was together and I got to see a few really great friends and their babies (and babies on the way).  Kayla had so much fun and loved every present she received from our so very generous friends and family.  She wasn't all that interested in the cake (honestly, I'm not that surprised because she's never really been all that interested in eating; she'd rather play.)  It was just a generally all around great time (minus my grandpa getting a little overheated in our apartment.)

I think the biggest fail for me is that, despite my new found love of photography, I never manage to snap pictures at the most important times.  I'm more of a candid photo snapper.  When all my friends and family are there I was to talk and mingle and laugh with them.  I don't want to be behind the camera.  Does this mean I can't be a photographer? :)

Here are some photos my father-in-law snapped with his new even higher tech camera.  I took some cute ones of Kayla on her actual birthday I will upload soon as well.  (I also need to take her 12 month photos, then I'm out of monthly stickers!)

I can't believe my baby is already 1 year (and a week!)

The cake my mom made!  I kinda like that it's off kilter.  It's abstract art.

Aunt Megan got me a tutu (I missed her at my party a lot) because "All pretty girls deserve a tutu."

See how happy she is!

Opening presents was a little better than Christmas.

I got 2 new chairs!  My football lounging chair from Aunt Lauren and Kevin.

And my very own rocking chair from my Great Nanny and Gramps.

Mom's friend Aunt Katie gets me the very best gifts!  (She gave me Lambie.)  How cute is this hat!

This is me trying to get her interested in the cake.  She put her face down in the frosting once.

Some other photos from my birthday weekend.

Modeling my tutu over my PJs.

Using my teeth in new ways.

I don't think any kid loves bath time as much as this one.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Lack of Posts

I'm stopping in to say that I am sorry for not posting too much this week.  Kayla has apparently caught a cold or something for her birthday.  She didn't sleep more than a 1.5-2 hour stretch on Tuesday night, was up from 12-2 am on Wednesday night (with about 3 other wake ups), didn't sleep well again last night and has been having a VERY difficult time napping.

She has so much snot I didn't actually realize a nose that small could produce that much.  On and off she's been pretty cranky.  She'll be super happy normal Kayla one minute, then something really small happens and it's like the end of the world.  And honestly, getting her to take a nap has been like rocket science.

She seems to be getting better.  She slept through the night without a peep on Thursday night and took one nice long nap on Wednesday afternoon.  She is currently down for a nap right now.  Also, not only is she sick, but she also seems to be getting her 1 year molars.  I'm telling you, teething and sleep are NOT friends.  So in case any of my mommy friends come across this problem, here is what seems to have worked for us:
  1. Tylenol every 4 hours to help her fever break.
  2. Cool mist humidifier in her room.
  3. Slight elevation of one side of her mattress.
  4. Saline and a bulb syringe (even though she hates it, cries and creates more snot)
  5. Vasoline on her nose to help it from getting to chapped (this was a late addition and she's had a bit of blood in her snot.
  6. Cloth wipes (so much softer on her nose)
  7. A Vick's small floor light with calming scents emitted.
  8. We tried a very small amount of Benadryl (technically Wal-adryl, the Walgreens generic kind) to help with the stuffiness.
I think that's all.  Tonight, we might try some more Tylenol (which we stopped when her fever broke) and some Hyland's teething tablets (or maybe get some baby orajel swabs) to help if it is the molars coming in.  So far today has been better since we took her out of the house to wear her out to help with nap time.  It seems to have worked this morning (except about 30 minutes in she was crying...and sweating, because Mommy should have taken off her sweater before her nap.)  Do any of you have special at home remedies for colds/teething?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! (Very belated.)

As much as I wish we could have had Kayla's first Christmas in our own home, Christmas still turned out pretty great!  We didn't do anything overly special, but she was just so excited for all of our little outings.  

See, when I was younger our Christmas traditions involved where we went an when.  Christmas Eve was always spent with my Mom's side of the family at my Nanny's house.  So on Christmas Eve, we took the trek out to the Western suburbs with Kayla in Christmas outfit #1.  She didn't nap too well once we got there, but such is life.  Daddy got some good cuddling sleepy baby time.

Kayla got a few great gifts: 2 pairs of boots (one red with white furry trim), an elf stuffed doll, some books from her great uncle and a very cute outfit.

She sort of understands opening gifts:

Note the Christmas shoes:

My little Santa Baby:

On Christmas Day, my older sister and parents were getting up to go to Church (you know when you are Catholic and you mainly go to Mass for Christmas and Easter they have a special name for that. :) I'd really like to find a quaint little Church near our new apartment and get more involved.)  I decided if Kayla was up and happy and we had enough time, we could get ready and go with them.  Turns out, Kayla was excited about Christmas and we had time to get ready.

Here she is in Christmas outfit #2:

Playing a bit before Church:

When we got back from Church, my younger sister and her boyfriend joined us in the early afternoon.  We sat around most of the morning/early afternoon doing nothing.  The gifts were all still sitting there wrapped under the tree.  It was kinda nice.  I'm sure future Christmases will look much different.  Here is Kayla with the big bag of trash in Christmas outfit #3:

She got a lot of great toys/clothes/baby trinkets from her aunts, uncle, Gigi & Papa and Mommy & Daddy.  She really liked her laptop though:

When I was younger, we usually drove up to Milwaukee in the afternoon after opening gifts at home to spend time with my Dad's side of the family.  This year, we decided to stay home for Christmas day and relax and make the trek to Milwaukee the following day.  I didn't snag too many photos there (too much Wii playing and Sequence) and I didn't get a great photo of Christmas Outfit #4 but I got a couple good ones.  One of my favorite things is watching my younger cousins hold and play with my baby.  Something about a baby brings out the child in everyone (even the children.) :)

All in all, it was a really great first Christmas despite us not being in our own place yet.

Kayla will be authoring the next post:

Oh and a few weeks prior to Christmas (probably more like 1 week prior), Justin and Megan and I got Kayla dressed up to get a classic picture on Santa's lap at the mall.  (Holy moly those are stinkin' expensive!)  How cute is she!?!  She didn't even shed a tear, just tried to pull off Santa's beard.

Here are a few of the photos we got...I love this first one!

Always waving at everyone, she's so friendly!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

1 Year

Dear Kayla Marie,

One year ago today, you finally decided you were ready to enter the world.  I have never felt both love and fear like I did that day.  First, fear that you were going to be ok, then fear that I was going to be ok, and finally fear about what kind of mother I would be or that something would happen to hurt you.  The love, is what prevails over the fear.

For the first month, we spent a lot of time together learning about breastfeeding and cuddling during nap times and nighttime.  Mommy was pretty much a wreck during this month, but you were such a great sleeper when you were little and Daddy got to stay home with us for a couple weeks.  I miss this little baby.

In your second month, you learned how to smile.  What an amazing milestone, one of my favorites for sure.  This was the month I figured out that you loved being over my shoulder to relax and fall asleep.  And you loved sleeping on me, which is another thing I really miss.

Month three included your first Easter and your first road trip to the Midwest to meet Mommy's family. You also attended your first wedding and were the belle of the ball.  I have to say this wasn't one of my favorite months because your sleeping took a really terrible turn for the worse.  Looking back, I wish I would have just taken a breath and enjoyed the extra time I got to spend with you a little more.

Your fourth month brought on some sleep training and some very small tastes of your first baby cereal. The best part about month four was the giggling.  There has never been a more pleasant and heart warming sound in the world to me.  I love seeing how your laugh has changed.  Later when you are a teenager and don't think I'm nearly as funny as you do now, I will remember these days when I could make you break into laughter by just fake sneezing (and many other ways.)

Month five we were dealing with thrush.  Through all our breastfeeding woes, I'm so thankful I was able to at least partially breastfeed up until this week.  I never thought I would care too much about how long it lasted, but I have very much enjoyed our special time together.  We had our first accident this month before your first plane flight.  You will never remember that day, and I will never forget it.  Watching you summersault off the bed was one of the scariest moments of my life.  You sure turned out ok though.

Your half birthday.  This was a huge physical milestone leaping month.  You learned to crawl, sit and pull yourself to standing all in the span of a few weeks.  You also got your first teeth.  You became so much happier when you could get to what you wanted.  I will always be glad you were an early milestone achiever, just because I know you. :)

The seventh month, you really began to eat a lot better and you learned to drink from a sippy cup.  And you are so mobile!  I am so blessed to have been able to stay home with you for these full seven months, I now realize I took some things for granted.

In your eighth month, we moved!  Mommy got a new job and we were able to move ourselves out to Illinois with Gigi.  This is the month you finally started sleeping better.  You have taught me so many things in the last year, but with all the sleep problems, one of the biggest things is patience.  I've learned that sometimes, no matter what I do, I cannot control everything, and I have to do my best to enjoy the good times and relax, and breathe through the bad ones, because they won't be there forever.

You ninth month was full of excitement.  Mommy started her job, so you got to stay home with Daddy now (and Uncle Brendan and Gigi.)  We also took our first vacation with Mommy's family to Hawaii.  You spent your first Halloween at a luau!  Oh, another small point, you also learned to walk!  This is a very exciting milestone for Mommy, even though it makes it a little harder to take care of you.  I loved seeing those first tentative steps, now you are such a confident little toddler.

Month ten brought on your first holiday season and your baptism.  You also learned how to wave this month.  You are such a friendly baby, and such a huge ham, you wave at everyone you see.  It doesn't matter where we are or if you know anyone, you just wave.  It's impossible for me not to smile to see you so happy around people.

Eleven months included your first Christmas.  You didn't really understand opening presents but you sure loved all the toys.  You are such a lucky little girl to have such a great big family who adores you.  I would do anything in the world to see you happy.

In your twelfth month, Daddy went back to work and we moved back into a home as a family of three.

Twelve months later, we are finally back to where we began...just the three of us.  It has been a significantly difficult year for Mommy, but it was never your fault.  You have brought Mommy and Daddy so much joy and laughter I wouldn't trade a moment of the past year.  You got to spend so much time with your family, which is so important.  You grew and thrived despite all the obstacles.  You are such an amazing little girl.  There is a very small part of me that can't help but wish I could go back and redo some of the most difficult times that I had, but then we wouldn't be where we are today.  I cannot imagine loving anyone as much as I love you.  I hope you had a great birthday, because no one deserves it more.

"It's your day of all days!  It's the best of the best!  
So don't waste a minute!
Hop to it!
Get dressed!

'Today,' laughs the Bird, 'eat whatever you want.
Today no one tells you you cawnt or you shawnt.
And, today, you don't have to be tidy or neat.
If you wish, you may eat with both hands and both feet.
So get in there and munch. Have a big munch-er-oo!
Today is your birthday!  Today you are you!'

If we didn't have birthdays, you wouldn't be you.
If you'd never been born, well then what would you do?
If you'd never been born, well then what would you be?
You might be a fish!  Or a toad in a tree!
You might be a doorknob!  Or three baked potatoes!
You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes.
Or worse than all that...Why, you might be a wasn't!
A wasn't has no fun at all.  No, he doesn't.
A wasn't just isn't.  He just isn't present.
But you...you ARE YOU!  And, now isn't that pleasant!

Come on!  Open your mouth and sound off at the sky!
Should loud at the top of your voice, 'I AM I!
I am I!
And I may not know why
But I know that I like.
Three cheers!  I AM I!'"
-Dr. Suess

Today, Kayla Marie, you are you, and I love that you more than anything.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Moving Day!

Today, we move back into our own place, just our family of three.  I love my family very much and appreciate their help more than they could imagine, but it's time to be on our own again.  For the first time since Kayla was 8 weeks old.  Needless to say, I'm excited.

Very brief post for now, but I have a few posts pretty much ready.  I have a lot to say in the coming weeks so I'm trying to stay ahead and keep my blog a priority for me.  :)  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2 for 2 Fund

Most people that know me know that I'm a little bit of a softy.  I cry at most weddings (except my own for some reason...I guess I was just so happy.)  I cry during mushy movies a lot.  I just have a soft spot for people in general.  I also think that everyone deserves to be happy in life.

When I started blogging, I found a few "mommy blogs" through a discussion board, one of which was Enjoying the Small Things.  This blog is written my a mommy photographer named Kelle Hampton.  She takes beautiful photos of her two adorable daughters, Lainey and Nella.  She is a beautiful writer and has a book coming out in the spring.  (I can't wait to buy it.)  I honestly read a lot of blogs, funny, witty, informative, etc.  By far, hers is my favorite.  I love the funny ones and I love the informative ones, but hers is a combination of everything good.  It really makes me stop and think about what I want from life and what is important.  She makes me stop and "enjoy the small things."  (It's a perfect title for her blog.)

I first read her birth story post about her daughter, Nella, who was born with Down Syndrome and they didn't know this beforehand, so it was a surprise.  I was hooked from day 1.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that Nella was born on the 22nd of January in 2010.  (In case you don't see the connection this is Kayla's birthday, except Kayla was born last year, obviously.)  For some reason, I just feel a draw to Kelle and her kids.  I feel some sort of connection and I appreciate that she so eloquently writes about the things that I wish I could express.

For Nella's birthday this year (just like she did last year), she is collecting donations for the National Down Syndrome Society.  Her post about her donation page just really moved me (as do most of her posts) and she is right.  Everyone deserves to have every opportunity in life to do everything they wish, no matter how many chromosomes they have.

Please take a moment to read at least this blog post, about her 2 for 2 Fund.  (I personally believe you will be a better person if you read her blog regularly, but just this post will do for now.)  And please, please, please take a moment to donate $5 or $10, or more if you are feeling generous.  For anyone that reads this blog that has been asking me what Kayla wants/needs for her birthday, I'll ask you to go to this site and donate to the NDSS.  Kayla has everything she needs.  Everyone with Down Syndrome deserves to have that luxury as well.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Uncle Brendan

Dear Uncle Brendan,

Thanks for taking such good care of my while Mommy & Daddy go to work.  I couldn't ask for a cooler or more fun uncle.  I'm also glad I share my birthday month with you!  I hope you had a really great birthday!

Love Kayla