We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers. - I Thessalonians 1:2

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Nana!

Today is my mom's (Cate's Nana's) birthday! So happy birthday Mom (Nana)! We're sorry we couldn't be there to celebrate but look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Here is a picture of Cate and my mom when Cate was just a newborn (taken in the hospital).

And here's Cate with Nana and Grandpa on Easter.
We love you!!!

~Melody, Eric and Cate

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sundays and Cato Plays. . .

So, we were just relaxing after church when I decided to pull out my guitar, and low and behold, Cate thought it was the coolest thing, and just had to try for herself. Let it be known that my daughter will be a rock goddess if she so chooses.

Later we went to Ikea, and I fell in love. Not only do they have smart solutions for every room in your house, and ways to utilize small spaces, they are also very affordable. We like our small house, and we are getting all kinds of ideas on how to best use all of that space. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it.

So, after a long day, I also realized that we already have shelving for our kitchen (the people before us moved the cabinet to the basement laundry room, for whatever acid-trip reason) and I put it up. It looks great, and again, utilizes our space. Not much else to report. Go OBAMA-BIDEN, '08!

- Papa E

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Messy Face

Cate had a lot of fun making a mess with a biter biscuit, as the pictures below show.  The good thing is that she is learning to mash food with her jaw.  As she'd soften up pieces of the biscuit by gumming it, the pieces would break up and she'd continue to gum/chew them even though her only two teeth are in the front (on the bottom).  

Tomorrow begins my first day of school with new students.  I recognize several last names as siblings of students I've already had.  What's even crazier is that the students I had my first year of teaching 8th grade are seniors now.  Yup, this is year 5 for me.  
~Melody :-)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ready for our Close Up

We had pictures taken today! Here are a few of the 80 or so we brought home on CD. :-)
~Eric and Melody (and Cate) :-)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Didn't Cry...

...but Cate did.  This morning.  When we dropped her off at her new sitter.  She has that whole stranger recognition thing.  Normally it doesn't matter, but for some reason, today it did.  Eric and I got her calmed down and she enjoyed the rest of her day.  She did end up having a playmate today for 3 hours since one of the other little girls, Grace, came.  Apparently they like each other.  They're the same age.  Cate's making friends already.  She didn't cry the rest of the day.  Skipped the morning nap, ate pretty well considering it was her first day with someone new feeding her, and then took a 2 hour afternoon nap- waking up just before I got there.  My grandma (dad's mom) works at a needlepoint store down the street from our new sitter, so we stopped in there to say hello on our way home. 

It was weird being at home without her today.  I was only home for lunch though.  I got my hair trimmed this morning and did some work at school this afternoon.  Hopefully tomorrow's drop off will go smoother (Eric has to do it by himself since I have to be at school for a meeting).  No pictures today...except this funny one we snagged last night at the pool.  I'm not even really sure what the caption for this one should be. Enjoy!

~Melody :-)

PS...now that school is starting, you may have to wait a little longer in between posts.  Be patient and keep checking back- we'll keep posting.  :-)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer Reading Part 2

I'd like to revisit summer reading for a minute. Cate is a pretty good napper, so I got a lot done. My original list looked like this:
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
How to be Good by Nick Hornby
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2 by Steve Stockman
Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella
Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin

On Chesil Beach was fantastic! A little racy subject matter wise, but beautifully written. Unaccustomed Earth was definitely my favorite of the summer.
Shopaholic Ties the Knot and Love the One You're With were just fun summer reads (but both a lot of fun...I especially enjoyed that the Giffin book took place part of the time in Atlanta, where my parents are moving).

I didn't make it to How to Be Good, Bel Canto, Velvet Elvis, or Walk On, so they'll remain on my list for fall .

I also strayed a little from my list too. I read: The Monsters of Templeton (a little weird, but good); The Beach House (Jane Green is my favorite chick lit. author); Endangered Minds (had to read it for a class but wound up finding it kind of interesting); Twilight (I now see what all the fuss is about as my students loved this book last year...guess I'll have to read the rest of the series); When You are Engulfed in Flames (I love Sedaris and while there were good stories in this one, it's not his best, but again, still good); Child 44 (great plot, kind of creepy); The Heroines (good until about halfway through and then it was awful...probably my least favorite of the summer); and Sundays at Tiffany's (which was just heartwarming...I loved it). I'm reading Love is a Mix Tape right now and will hopefully finish it by the time school actually starts.

I also read a lot to Cate. She's a fan of Are You my Mother?, Skippy Jon Jones (but only when Eric does Skippy's voice in a Spanish accent), Miss Spider, and the plastic bath time edition of Rainbow Fish.

~Melody :-)

PS...Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of our blog!!!! Thanks for reading about us!

So Long Summer

The bright yellow ice cream truck hasn't played it's annoying little melody on our street this week. Our little community pool closes on Friday. The school supplies are on sale EVERYWHERE you go. The buses are out practicing. The end of the summer and start of the school year is definitely upon us.

Today was my last day at home with Cate. I had kind of wanted it to be spectacular...but let's be realistic- Cate is 6 months old. We started off the day early at Children's Hospital. Cate is fine! Better than fine actually. Remember that flat spot she had on her head as a really little baby? Well, the doctor had us make an appointment with a plagiocephaly (flat head) specialist back in June. At Cate's six month checkup last week, we asked her if we needed to keep our appointment. Dr. Brown's recommendation was to go ahead and keep the appointment just in case since it took us two months to even get in. So today was the appointment and after 4 hours at the hospital, Cate came home with a clean bill of health. No helmet or therapy necessary. Her tummy time, rolling over, and sitting up have all contributed to it correcting herself. Needless to say, Cate was exhausted when we got home and slept for almost 2 hours.

When she woke up, she had a late lunch. Cate is in a phase right now where she wants to eat her bib the second food isn't in her mouth. I discovered today that finger puppets (which we keep in the diaper bag to distract her when she gets fussy when we're out) also keep her from trying to eat her bib during meals.
The finger puppet above is from the new pack of puppets I got at IKEA yesterday. That's also where I bought this cute frog organizer.
Cate's room is themed Animals and ABC's and the frog matches perfectly. It's the best place to keep some of her odds and ends like pacifiers, swimmy diapers, and sun hats. Cate cracks up just looking at him.
We spent some time hanging out on the floor, practicing our sitting up.
We also played a little in our exer-saucer.
After daddy got home and we ate dinner, we decided to head up to our community pool for a little swim. The pool closes on Friday so tonight will probably be the last night we make it up there. We did find out though that our pool passes (which were a whopping $10 each) are good through December at any of the 3 indoor pools that Cincinnati Recreation Center has. So we might get to swim some more this fall. Cate loves going to the pool.

So tomorrow Cate starts at her sitter. It'll be weird not having my little sidekick with me all day. I don't have to be at school tomorrow for anything, but I wanted to make sure that Cate had a day where I could be reached in case there was an issue. She'll actually be the only one at the sitter's tomorrow which will be a nice way for her to get acclimated. One of the other babies will join her on Friday and then all three (well, one is part time) will be there next week. I have everything ready to bring with me and am praying that Cate adjusts well and "fits in." I know she will though.

It's been fun being home with Cate all summer. And while I did shed a couple of tears as I nursed her tonight and just held onto her in those moments before she slipped into sleep, I know that this is all going to be great. I love my job! I love Cate! And this year will be about figuring out balance. I already proved to myself last year that I could leave work at work (I only brought papers and projects home to grade two or three times throughout the year). Cate's only with someone else for 6 hours a day too and she'll make friends!

~Melody :-)

Got Montessori?

I've been meaning to post this since Sunday, but haven't gotten around to it until now. On Sunday afternoon, Eric, Cate, and I toured the brand new Pleasant Ridge Montessori School. It's right up the street from our house and will be Cate's school once she turns 3 (they start them in preschool). One of my roommates and good friends from Miami is a Montessori teacher in Maryland. After talking with her and doing some reading on our own, Eric and I have been convinced that we want to start Cate out in a Montessori school. If you Google "Montessori", there are a ton of websites that come up if you want to know more.

Anyway, we're fortunate enough to have a great public Montessori school practically in our own backyard. The new school is absolutely beautiful. The floor plan is nice and open with a lot of areas for large group activities. We met the principal (even though school is still a few years away for Cate and we're not rushing it by any means), some of the teachers, and a few other babies who won't be starting for a few more years either.

Another thing we learned on our tour is that Pleasant Ridge Montessori is a "green" school. All the products used to clean the school are green, the school's position and large windows allow for maximum use of daylight vs. artificial light, the lights in the hallways are motion sensitive so that they turn out when no one is in the hallway, between each floor there is a specific design to help with heating efficiency, and the list goes on. In fact, PRM is the first elementary school in Ohio to pursue LEED Certification (a government certification for "green" building- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

Pleasant Ridge Montessori is also a feeder school for Clark Montessori, which was the country's first Montessori Jr./Sr. high school. Clark Montessori is back in our old neighborhood of Hyde Park, and is just down the street from the apartment Eric and I lived in when we first got married.

I know Cincinnati Public Schools have had their share of problems that plague large, urban districts. The schools can sometimes be hit or miss depending on neighborhood. But this one is fantastic. If you're in the area and have the chance to check it out, it's definitely worth it.

~Melody :-)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Brush Your Teeth

So now that Miss Cate's two teeth are poking well above the surface (though we still haven't managed to snap a picture of them), we are starting to "brush" them.  We don't use toothpaste- just water.  Cate actually likes it and when you pull the toothbrush away, she leaves her mouth open and leans toward it.  What a big girl!  Here she is in her exer-saucer this morning getting her teeth brushed!

Cate's also sitting up pretty well unassisted.  She loses her balance sometimes and can't recover, but for the most part, she's pretty good at sitting.  Today she charmed everyone I work with as she sat in her exer-saucer (don't leave home without it unless you're going somewhere where they have one) and I worked on my classroom.  School starts next week...so that means our number of posts per week may drop a little bit.  We'll try to keep you updated as much as we can though.  

~Melody :-)

PS...I have a video of Cate getting her teeth brushed, but once again seem to be having problems uploading video to Blogger.  

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fingerpaint Fun!

The teacher in me is always looking for new things to do with Cate that are "educational."  She gets read to a lot and Eric and I both enjoy getting down on the floor to play with her.  We take her to the zoo often and have even taken her to the art museum and Krohn Conservatory to look at the artwork and plants.  I completely realize that Cate will have no recollection of these things, but she seems to "enjoy" them and I do think that on some level, activities like this stimulate her brain.  Not to mention that the variety keeps mom and dad from getting bored.  

Yesterday in the doctor's office (Cate is officially 17 lbs. 4 oz and 26.5 inches long at her 6 month checkup), I was reading a short article about fingerpainting in Wondertime magazine.  While the standard Crayola non-toxic variety are great for toddlers and up, the article gave an alternative for those brave enough to try fingerpainting with babies- edible fingerpaints!  

Start out by mixing equal cups cold water and white flour (I mixed 1 cold water with 1 cup flour there's 1/4 cup of each in my four containers):

Next, add one or two drops of food coloring to your mixture:  

Then it's time to paint.  I tried a couple of different things....but always taped the paper to Cate's high chair tray...otherwise she'd eat it (believe me, opening the mail with her on your lap or reading a magazine is hard to accomplish since she loves to put paper in her mouth).  For the first couple of "paintings" I dipped Cate's hands into the paint and then let her bang them around on the paper.  For the others I poured the paint onto the paper and let Cate take care of the rest.  She seemed to enjoy the latter method better.

It was easy to clean up and Cate squealed and babbled while she ran her hands across her tray and the paper.  The result was some pretty cool artwork.  

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Birthday Bash and Baby

So, 26 years down, and several more to go.  It was my birthday today, and it was also Cate's 6 month birthday.  I woke up to doughnuts in bed and then got to open presents with Cate in my lap.  She got me the new Coldplay CD and Mel got me three new shirts.  Later, we went and interviewed with Cate's new sitter in Madiera.  She was a very nice woman that only watches two other kids, so Cate will get plenty of attention. Then we ended the day with steaks for dinner and cake and ice cream (with other family) for dessert.  Then, I had my small irrational moment, and bought a fountain pen with some of my birthday money.  For whatever reason, I bought one about 10 years ago, and fell in love with it, but because of retail, was never really able to use it.  Now that my job is a little more writing instrument friendly, I figured it was time to reintroduce my quirk. Until you've used one, you wouldn't understand.  
Anyway, it was a very blessed day, and the best part was, I got to spend it all with my girls.  Thanks for a great day. 
- Papa E

Monday, August 4, 2008

Swingin' Away

Hopefully this video works...here is Cate trying out her new swing last night.  And for those of you with wee ones....the swing goes up to 36 months, so bring your kiddos over, and have a glass of sweet tea and a swing with us.  Thanks to Nana for an awesome late summer gift!
~Melody :-)

PS...and yes, I realize I sound like a big dork in the background.  ;-)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Splash and Swing

It's official...Cate now sits up in the bathtub...and splashes EVERYWHERE!  We now put her small over the sink tub into the big tub since she has a tendency to soak the kitchen.  We'll definitely be purchasing a bath ring/seat for her soon (and something for mommy and daddy to sit/kneel on).
Hudson is home to Step 2 and Little Tikes (both makers of sturdy plastic things).  Step 2 was having a sale while we were in town, so Cate's Nana (my mom) bought her a swing.  We have it hanging from the front porch right now and there are already hooks in the basement from the previous owners so she can swing in the winter as well.  We also inherited a porch swing for grown-ups.  My mom and dad got it on their first wedding anniversary and not too long afterwards, they moved to a house without a porch.  It's been at my grandmother's ever since (my parents have never bought a house with a big enough porch since then).  She recently purchased an easier to maintain glider for her porch...so now the swing is ours and we are loving it!  Both swings are the perfect late summer additions to our home.

And speaking of late summer...I made my first homemade baby food today...green beans.  While visiting some family in Stanton, KY yesterday, we came home with a ton of half runner green beans.  After de-stringing them and cooking them, I put them in the mini-food processor and voila...green beans for Cate.  Eric and I preferred to enjoy our green beans by cooking them in a stock pot with ham, new potatoes, and corn...yum!!!  We're definitely getting back to my family's southern roots with that one.  

~Melody :-)

PS...It appears that there is some issue with the blogger site itself when it comes to posting videos.  Once that issue is resolved I fully intend to post my cousin's Godspell song and a cute video of Cate swinging today.  

Friday, August 1, 2008

A Week Away

I guess I should start at the beginning...with last weekend first since I haven't blogged about it. Cate and I made it to our third Oakley After Hours in a row (we went in May when Eric was in Tahoe and in June to get Cate's fingerprint made for our anniversary necklaces). This time Cate and I met up with one of my friends that I teach with and one of my friends from Team in Training and their kiddos- who clearly enjoyed themselves:
My mom had flown from Hudson to Atlanta to look at a house with my dad and they drove up from Atlanta to Cincinnati late Friday night. On Saturday, we got to visit with my parents and some of my dad's family (some in from Arizona, some from other parts of Ohio). After my dad headed back to Atlanta on Sunday, we took Cate and my mom up to Eric's parents' house for swimming and some dinner. Cate was sure to wear her adorable sundress that Eric's parents got her on their cruise:
On Monday, my mom, Cate, my grandma (mom's mom) and I packed up the car and headed to Hudson. Our first couple of days there were pretty relaxed as evidenced by Cate's arm resting behind her head:
I was very proud of myself for getting the pack n' play set up all on my own. :-)

On Wednesday, we headed with my friend from high school, Melisa, and her son, Logan, to a breastfeeding moms' support group. Their group was awesome and program great! As I peruse Facebook pages and blogs of people I went to high school with, it is crazy (in a good way) to see how many of us are parents (or soon-to-be parents). And it's good to know there will be a bunch of crazy kiddos for Cate to play with at our 10 year reunion in a couple of years.
Cate certainly got most of the attention on our trip. On Thursday during my Aunt B's lunch visit, Cate entertained us as she ate her favorite snack- Baby Mum Mum rice rusks. Apparently she can eat them with no hands.
Besides visiting with my family and getting my mom back to Hudson, our other reason for the trip was to see my cousin, Jennifer, perform in a community theater performance of Godspell. Jennifer just finished her freshmen year as a Spanish Education major at the Akron. I absolutely loved the show and seeing Jennifer perform. Jenn's the one on the left in this picture. Her dad, my Uncle Rob, also played guitar to accompany the performance. If I can get the video clip to post later, you'll be able to hear some of Jenn's duet with her dad strumming in the background.
It was definitely a fast week, but we made it home safe and sound today (ironically we sat in the most traffic in Hudson...30 minutes just to get out of town since they were repaving). I'm glad to be home with Eric and we're kickin' butt on Mario Kart for the Wii (you drive it with a real steering wheel). He got it as an early birthday present from my parents last weekend. You'll all have to come drive with us.

~Melody :-)

PS...since Eric works for LLS (and did something similar when he was raising money for TNT), you have to check this out...click here!