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


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Friday, February 27, 2009

Exersaucer 1.0

My grandmother has this cute little baby rocker as a decoration in her house (all of her grandkids were too big to use it by the time she got it). She thinks it's about 80 years old-- maybe older. Cate is just the right size though.
I call it exersaucer 1.0...not all of the fancy bells and whistles of today's stationary entertainers, but it still gets the job done.
We went down to my grandmother's house after dinner at Habits so she could put a new zipper on a jacket for me. Cate loved Habits too! Apparently she was just in a loving, good mood.
Cate also drank her last bottle of thawed breastmilk tonight...so now we are really, REALLY, done nursing, even though I haven't fed her in a month or pumped in almost 2. She's getting so big!

So big in fact, that Eric and I are going to leave her for a few days this summer to go celebrate our fifth anniversary. We were initially thinking somewhere Caribbean or a cruise (which I realize is also Caribbean), but I'm not quite ready to leave Cate for the full week. And I want to make a trip to the Caribbean really count. So we decided on Santa Barbara. I'm already dreaming of waking up every morning for 4 mornings here.

Why Santa Barbara? I lived in Los Angeles for most of the summer of 2003 working with a gifted kids' program. And I fell in love with the west coast (but not so in love that I'd want to live there-- the traffic is HORRIBLE). Two years later, Eric and I went out there for vacation and our friend, Ryan, took us up to Santa Barbara and Solvang, where we visited 3 vineyards and enjoyed some yummy wine tasting (think the movie "Sideways"). We only spent a day there and I've been wanting to go back. When thinking about how we wanted to celebrate our anniversary, we knew we wanted a beach, but also some other fun stuff to do. We started out investing L.A. and San Diego, but stumbled upon The Canary in Santa Barbara during our search. After reading reviews and talking to Ryan, who was familiar with the popularity of one of the sister resorts in L.A., we decided this was it for us. So we're going to take a surf lesson while we're there and do a wine tasting tour by bike (which is right up our alley). I think we're going to splurge on some in-room massages too and then spend the rest of our time exploring the town and hanging out at the beach.

Don't worry, we're taking Cate on a different vacation this summer-- to Hilton Head. I am excited to go back there now that we have her.

Now I just need it to be summer. :-)

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another Day, In the Park

You could tell it was near 60 out today because EVERYONE was at the park...including us. Cate happily rode in the wagon and Zoey dutifully walked beside us. It was the perfect way to spend a midweek afternoon. It's supposed to be warmer tomorrow, but rainy. Oh well...we have a baby shower gift to shop for and our small group for church starts tomorrow night, so I guess we'll be staying busy indoors.

~Melody :-)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Not Me Monday


It's that time of the week- time for me to shamelessy admit my shortcomings as a mom (or just as a human being in general). For more information and to read more Not Me's, click here to go to fellow blogger, MckMama.

And now, on with the show...

I did NOT sing "Old MacDonald" while tickling Cate's toes with one hand while driving home from the Children's Museum on Saturday. That would be unsafe and besides, don't I want her to fall asleep? Well, I did NOT want to her to fall asleep, at least not in the car because then I knew she'd have a hard time taking a nap in her own bed. And in my quest to keep her awake (it worked by the way), I did NOT sing about the old farmer having a monkey, lion, dolphin, fish, elephant, baby, and a bee, which entertained her greatly.

When we finally did get home on Saturday and Cate passed out in her crib, I did NOT proceed to spend the next 3 hours on the phone with two very good friends instead of doing the wee bit o' grading I brought home to do this weekend. And because I did NOT do some of that grading while Cate was sleeping and I refuse to grade while she is awake (unless Eric is home to play with her), I did NOT enlist Eric's help with my grading.

On Sunday Cate did NOT puke her guts up just before we left my in-laws house (our coats were on people). It did NOT take everything in me to not puke right there on the kitchen floor with her. I was NOT queasy for the rest of the night and the better part of today. And even though she never got sick again, never had a runny diaper, never ran a fever, and never exhibited any other signs of stomach virus (leaving us to conclude that the combination of rich cheesy food at dinner and being jostled, held, and played with immediately afterwards made her puke), I did NOT sanitize and clean her room, toy corner, and pretty much everything she plays with because I'm a germ-a-phob/hypochondriac when it comes to puke and don't want to take any chances. That last sentence was NOT a run-on-- I'm an English teacher and know that you shouldn't do those things. And I did NOT just blog about puking on my blog.

Nope, NOT me.

And while I was sanitizing everything today, Cate did NOT make a horrific mess of the toy corner.
She did NOT pull every book off of her shelf while I steamed pacifiers, changed sheets, and swiffer wet jetted the floor.
I mean, my child is perfect and NEVER makes a mess.

Finally, I did NOT streak my hair orange and green on Friday along with 30 of my coworkers because our students raised over $10,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I would NEVER think of putting something like that in my hair. And I certainly did NOT crack up in the shower when I got home as rivers of orange and green ran down the drain.

NOT me!

~Melody :-)


Saturday, February 21, 2009

More Sharing...and Swinging...and Sliding...and Sweet Streaked Hair

Cate and I spent the morning at the museum while Eric worked the Adventure Summit for Team in Training. I didn't take any pictures since it was pretty much more of the same that you've already seen. Cate wore herself out and slept for almost 3 hours when we got home (during which I caught up on the phone with a few friends...and one is due with a playmate for Cate in August...hooray!).

Anyway, I noticed this morning before we left that Cate was trying to hand one of Zoey's toys to Zoey. This afternoon I managed to snap a couple pictures of Cate trying to share one of her puzzle pieces with Zoey. She's not happy until Zoey takes it in her mouth. Gross....but cute!
We also finally put Cate's swing up in the basement. We've been meaning to do it all winter, and hopefully we'll be putting it back up outside soon. In the meantime, she seemed to enjoy swinging indoors today.
She also enjoyed sliding indoors today. Cate has this tunnel toy and crawls through it all the time. It's sloped on either end though, but that has never stopped her from crawling all the way through. I'm not sure where she learned this next trick, but in the middle of the tunnel, Cate will stop and get her feet facing forward so she can slide down. The video quality is pretty poor...my cell phone was the closest thing available.
video

And on a totally unrelated note, the school where I teach did a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society last week. Our school goal was to raise $3000 in honor of the two students currently battling leukemia and the one teacher who lost his fight with lymphoma on Thursday. About 30 teachers agreed to dye or streak their hair orange and green (the colors of leukemia and lymphoma respectively) if we hit our goal. We raised over $10,000!!!! So here I am getting my hair streaked.
My hair is a little too dark to really pick it up, so you can't see much in the picture...sorry. But I really did streak it orange and green! It was pretty gross when I washed it out in the shower, but it came out in one wash so I'd definitely do it again.

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sharing

Cate loves to share. She is always picking up her toys or her food and trying to give them to us. She usually takes whatever she is sharing back within a minute or so, but it's the thought that counts, right? Anyway, last night she was hanging out in the kitchen, playing with some magnets, on the fridge, when she decided the cat/small dog door leading to our basement looked more interesting. She's noticed the door before too, so Eric and I didn't think much of it. She kept crawling from the fridge to the door and back again. We weren't paying her too much attention since we were both trying to get some stuff done and she seemed content.
She would squeal with delight each time she got to the cat/small dog door. Later on last night, as I was heading down the basement stairs to do laundry, this was what greeted me on the landing on the other side of the door: Apparently she was trying to share with her pets.

Today the weather did not get as cold as the weatherman predicted. We decided to enjoy some bubbles in the backyard before and after going on our walk. The bubble wand Cate got for her birthday is a hit. Thanks Aunt B, Uncle Rob, Jenn, and Steve! Check out the second shot!
Oh yeah, Zoey likes to chase the bubbles too.
I will have you know that I did ZERO photo enhancing/editing/etc. to this photo above. I love the way the color is captured in the bubble. I think the only thing that would have made it a better picture would be Cate looking at me and smiling instead of staring off towards the dog chasing bubbles.

Anyway, the weather is supposed to get cold for real tomorrow. It's inspired me to do some of this:
I learned how to knit a couple of years ago and successfully made two halfway decent looking scarves. Life clearly got a little busy once Cate arrived, but I did manage to start this scarf in the months before she was born. I added a few more rows last night. Man, did I forget how relaxing knitting can be. I think I'll try something a little bit more challenging than a scarf (but still beginner friendly) once I finish this one.

~Melody :-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Enjoying the Warmer? Weather

It was 45 out today, which meant that it was warm here, for winter. So we loaded up the wagon (Cate needs some toys to keep her busy) and headed up to the park.
She enjoyed the swing.
And crawling through this little tunnel about a million times.
We shared a banana before heading back home. Clouds were rolling in as the sun started to set, so it was getting a little chilly. We played on the floor for an hour until Daddy got home.
It's supposed to be cold the rest of the week, so our playtime will be limited to the floor or the museum (thank goodness it's so close). I will be spending the rest of these cold nights with this pile o' books:
We've been having a book fair at school and I got a wonderful surprise this morning letting me know that since I had taken the time to come visit the book fair and fill out a teacher wish list, I was being given a $50 gift card to spend at the fair. It makes up for the fact that I've never had a parent actually purchase me anything off of my wish list. My $50 didn't go too far considering that 3 of the 4 books I chose were hardcover...but still, it beats no books at all. I haven't read much young adult literature this year other than the books I've taught, so it's exciting to get some new stuff to read...for free!

~Melody :-)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Not Me Monday!

It's time for another round of Not Me Monday, started on the blog MckMama as a therapeutic way to shamelessly admit all of those things that I certainly would never do because I'm perfect and never have those moments.  :-) I'm off school today, so I have a little more time to craft my post.  

This week I did NOT give Cate a taste of pop because she did NOT keep grabbing at the glass of pop I had in my hand.  We did NOT have pop in our house leftover from last weekend's festivities and have NOT been gorging ourselves on the luxury of such a nutrionally useless beverage all week just because it's there in the kitchen.  

I did NOT just about pee my pants when I saw the picture below on one of my friend's Facebook page.  

If you're from our neck of the woods, you totally get this.  If you're not, West Chester is a suburb north of the city.  I do NOT totally feel this way because the urban sprawl of some of the neighborhoods around me is really scary (I did live out that way when I student taught and had many occassions where driving less than 2 miles to Target was a 20 minute ordeal).  I do sincerely apologize to my many friends, coworkers, and fellow church-goers who do live in West Chester though.  It is a really pretty area, your homes are all beautiful, and maybe (big maybe) I may want to leave my city-dwelling life to join you.  But for now, I do NOT totally giggle just thinking about that shirt.  

And since my friend saw that shirt at Park + Vine, one of my favorite little shops in the real downtown, I did NOT decide that a trip downtown to walk around downtown is going to be in order soon.  Cate's wagon is totally urban-ready.  :-)

I did NOT spend the most money I've ever spent on a pair of jeans (or a pair of pants for that matter) on Friday night.  I mean, it's NOT like I could've bought about 3 pairs of Gap jeans for the price of my one pair of Rock Revival jeans.  And my husband was NOT the one who actually drove me to the boutique, entertained Cate while I tried on jeans, and encouraged me to get them in the first place.  I had NOT actually been planning this purchase for several months as a sort of an I'm done nursing Cate/my cheap Old Navy jeans last about 3 washes before they fray/I really just want nice jeans kind of purchase.  So we had NOT been putting money aside for them. And I do NOT look pretty darn good in them if I do say so myself.  I am NOT all about buying nice things when you plan for the purchase and pay for them in cash.  :-)

I am also NOT totally obsessed with this new lip balm that my husband got me for Valentine's Day.  And speaking of Valentine's Day, while out shopping for my wonderful hubby, I did NOT hand Cate a small wooden toy off of a shelf at World Market (we got him a portable french press since he is a coffee snob) which she did NOT throw down and break a piece off of it because she is NOT in an "uh-oh" phase.  I did NOT put the toy back on a shelf and just walk away because the store is closing anyway and at least my kid was NOT as bad as the kid who broke a bowl while we were there.  
I am NOT writing this post from my sister's computer since we're visiting family and I did NOT come across this adorable picture of her that my sister took one time of Cate.  It does NOT make me smile.  And while visiting with family I have NOT eaten way too much food.  I am NOT scared that my new jeans may not fit me now.  

I also do NOT keep holding Cate up by her arms to help her learn to walk because she has NOT decided that being bipedal is a ridiculous idea and crawling is much more efficient.  

And my last confession of the week...I did NOT go on the internet just about every day last week to look at the camera that I am NOT going to order the minute I get my supplemental checks from school.

Nope, NOT me.  

~Melody

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Uphill Battle

We don't have steps in our house (unless you count the basement ones, and Cate doesn't really play down there yet).  So of course now that we are spending the weekend with my parents, Cate has decided that their steps are the place to be. 

She climbed up them pretty well.  
Ahhh...the thrill of victory of being at the top!
So proud and happy...but back down on the bottom floor!
All this chasing her up the steps is fun and exhausting.  It makes me thankful we don't have a second floor in our house and that Cate will have mastered walking (and hopefully talking, potty training, and going to preschool) before we even begin entertaining the idea of moving into a house with steps.  
~Melody :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bouncing in the Wagon, Blocks and Beautiful Valentines

It was so sunny out after work, I couldn't resist taking Cate for a ride in the wagon. Once again, she loved it. Smiling and waving at everyone and everything, we bumped around the block before heading out to buy some wooden blocks with a little bit of Cate's birthday money. She loves the blocks at the Children's Museum. While they had some of those blocks at one of our favorite toy stores, we decided to start her out with a slightly simpler set. They are a hit!
Cate loves taking them in and out of the wooden tray that came with them. I love the Melissa and Doug brand. All of their toys are finished with non-toxic materials which means I don't have to worry about Cate putting them in her mouth.
After dinner, I was feeling creative and decided to make valentines. I didn't want to go out and get supplies, so I decided to check the basement. I had some pale yellow library book pockets, ribbon, stickers, paint, glitter and pretty paper. I used the paint to attempt to create hearts using Cate's fingerprint (we managed to keep the paint off of her clothes, but not all of the prints look like hearts). I then decorated the envelopes with all of the other things I had found. I cut the cute paper into little rectangles and wrote "Happy Valentine's Day" on each before sticking it inside the pocket. I did have some candy here at home, so I stuck some in each pocket as well. I think they turned out cute. They're perfect for giving out at the sitter's tomorrow, even if there is only one other baby there.

~Melody :-)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

12 Month Checkup

Cate had her 12 month checkup today. We are up to 21 pounds 4 ounces! She's just under 31 inches tall. Basically her height is in the 90th percentile while her weight is down around the 50th...so far she's tall and skinny (taking after her Aunt Catherine I see). Our pediatrician said everything looked great with her and Cate only screamed for about 5 seconds when she got her one shot (in the arm this time instead of the leg...what a big girl).

We expressed our concern that Cate doesn't really like veggies. It's mostly the texture of them, because she will eat baby food veggies (until she gets tired of us feeding her- she's so independent) or will eat veggies if they're mixed in with her pasta or mashed potatoes or something (but again, gets tired when we're feeding her this kind of stuff). The doctor suggested peppers since they're sweeter, but have the same nutritional value as the veggies she spits out (mainly broccoli and green beans). Luckily we had a red and green pepper at home. She ate slices of both and really seemed to like them. Hooray! The doctor also suggested putting a little cheese on her veggies since she likes cheese so much. I guess we'll try that next.

Tonight Eric, Cate, and I did something we haven't done for awhile. We headed through the Starbucks drive though and then went for a drive. For the first few weeks post-partum, I couldn't drive and was overwhelmed at the thought of taking Cate somewhere on my own. But I had to get out of the house. So just about every night, we'd do just what we did tonight. Eric had a gift card from commanding a great cheer station at the marathon in Phoenix and we had extra money in our gas budget since I had snow days a couple of weeks ago. It was fun to reminisce. We explored the Kentucky side of the river this time and found quite a few little shops and restaurants we want to check out.

Sorry no pictures to post, but I for my faithful few readers and family I wanted to make sure you got your Cate checkup update. :-)

~Melody :-)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Not Me Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week. It's quite fun...come play with us.

Well, this was the week. Our darling daughter did NOT turn one this week. And we did NOT take off work just to hang out with her even though she won't remember it. I did NOT rock her for a half an hour after she fell asleep on Thursday because I wanted to be holding her at the exact minute she was born (9:05).

I did NOT make two cakes for the celebration because I would NOT invite so many people to a one year old's party. And it did NOT take two cars to get all of her loot home. I did NOT for a brief second consider buying a minivan, but then nixed that idea because I really am NOT there yet (maybe an SUV, just please NOT a minivan). I do realize that at some point in my life it may be inevitable.

I did NOT stop in to pick up a few things at Wal-Mart on Friday (I hate our Wal-Mart...it's ghetto in every sense of the word). And while picking up a few things at Wal-Mart a kid did NOT totally puke in the aisle I was in. I did NOT go and get a store employee and think nothing of it (this is a big step for me because normally I would've started gagging on the spot...I must really be a mom). On my way out of Wal-Mart I did NOT open the door to what I thought was our car with Eric and Cate waiting in it for me only to discover it was another car just like ours.

And speaking of cars, we did NOT get ours back on Friday afternoon after six weeks of repair work. I did NOT almost shed tears of joy as I picked it up. And I most certainly have NOT driven like a slow paranoid granny ever since.

And I have NOT been obsessed with pulling Cate around in her new wagon for the last two days because she just looks so darn cute in it.

Nope NOT me!

~Melody

Sunday, February 8, 2009

First Birthday Fun: Part Three- The Big Party

Yesterday was Cate's big birthday party. It was mostly family and a few close family friends. But before the big party started, we took Cate to Portrait Innovations to have her picture taken in her dress from Bloomingdale's (thanks Jessie). She hammed it up with the camera and I wish I had hundreds of dollars to spend to buy each pose, but we picked the best one, bought a package (so we'd have pictures to hand out at her party), and the biggest print is already hanging in our living room (hence the poor quality below...it's a picture of a picture in a frame).
I'm big on tradition and my mom always made our birthday cakes...even the complicated ones (like my Rainbow Bright one). So of course, I had to make Cate's cake. I ended up making two since we were having so many people- one chocolate and one yellow. I think they turned out pretty well considering I'm not much of a cake decorator.
Cate certainly loved digging in.
And speaking of tradition....my grandmother (mom's mom) had cross-stitched birth announcements for all 5 of her grandchildren. Cate is the first great-grandchild and couldn't be left out of the tradition. Her birth announcement is beautiful! My grandmother had it framed and everything for us and it is now hanging above Cate's dresser in her room (we've been saving that spot for it).
Cate really cleaned up at her party too. Our family and friends are way too generous with her. She got some cute spring and summer outfits (sundresses, rompers, and my sister couldn't let a party go by without getting her something Polo- two shirts to be exact- I think she needs to take out stock in Ralph Lauren). She got some fun indoor toys (maracas, a cookie jar shape sorter, a phone that says her name, a little giraffe that prays with her) and some fun outdoor toys (a sand and water table, petite-size patio furniture, a big bubble wand, and a wagon). I'm looking forward to spring. We didn't put the patio furniture or the sand and water table together yet, but we did put together the wagon. Cate tried it out last night with Nemo (Eric's parents' dachshund). She loved it! We've also been wheeling her around the house in it this morning and are hoping to take advantage of the warm weather and get outside with it today.
Eric and I still can't believe that our baby is growing up. A year ago yesterday was our first night home from the hospital with her. Cate must have remembered what a rough night that was for her (she wanted to be held and thought it was daytime-- Eric and I took 1 hour shifts holding her while the other slept), because she woke up just before for this morning ready to play. Thankfully my husband is a champ and sat out in the living room with her for about 40 minutes until she started acting tired. He rocked his birthday princess back to sleep and she slept in until 8:30, we were almost late for church!

They really weren't kidding when they told us the time would fly by.

~Melody :-)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

200th Post...an important request

This is our 200th post! Thanks for sticking with us if you're one of our faithful readers.

Today was Cate's big family birthday. We'll be posting pictures of it soon. For now, we have something very important to ask you.

Please pray for Abby. We happened upon Abby's blog when we were searching to see who ended up with the blog name we originally wanted. It turns out that the Riggs family on this blog (no relation to us that we know of), adopted Abby from Guatemala as an infant. This past summer she was diagnosed with Leukemia and is not doing too well right now. Please pray. You can check out her blog by clicking here.

Also, her dad, Brent Riggs, publishes a pretty cool online magazine. You can check it out by clicking here.

Thanks,
Eric and Melody

Friday, February 6, 2009

Watch Me Grow

My sister made this cool movie of Cate's first year for us.  We were able to burn high quality DVD's of it, but this will have to do for all of you watching it on the internet.  What a creative keepsake for our peanut!  Aunt Catherine better be ready to make one for any other kiddos we have too!




~Melody :-)

PS...We had to do it in YouTube...blogspot was not happy about uploading it directly.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

First Birthday Fun: Part Two-- Krohn Conservatory, First Happy Meal, and a Cupcake

After we managed to pull Cate away from her new piano, we decided to head to Krohn Conservatory-- an absolutely beautiful greenhouse near downtown. With Cate's congestion and cold, this seemed like a better option than the Children's Museum where she would have probably picked up more cold germs. Plus, the climate is very steamy in the Conservatory (which is why some pictures may appear blurry), so the steam helped to loosen everything in her chest up. Cate was fascinated by everything. I took her here once over the summer, but she was much more responsive to everything this time.
She particularly loved the waterfall.
And by some upside down tree roots.
In the new Early Spring Blooms exhibit, she got to play in sand.
We made a birthday wish in the fountain before leaving, but we can't tell you what we wished for or it won't come true.
After that, we headed to McDonald's to get Cate her first Happy Meal. While I love McD's Sweet Tea, I rarely eat there-- in fact I don't remember the last time I had McDonald's. I think it was last summer. So it ended up being a little treat for us all. Cate loved her nuggets, fries, milk, and toy.
Even more fun awaited her at home. We sang happy birthday to her, blew out a candle on a cupcake, and let her dig in.
Our birthday celebration for the day is pretty much over. Cate is getting ready to nap and we have a Team in Training spring season kickoff party tonight. We'll leave you with a little video action of it all.

video
~Melody :-)

First Birthday Fun: Part One-- Breakfast and Presents

At some point in time during the last year, I decided that I would take Cate's birthday off of work (so did Eric). As a working mom, it's just one thing I don't want to miss. Plus, I figure in the future I'll need the day off to bring those yummy cupcakes into school. :-) Anyway, needless to say, our little peanut is one today! And Mommy and Daddy are not at work-- we're home celebrating!

We got everything ready last night so that she'd see the balloon tied to her high chair and her presents on the table when she woke up.
We had a special pancake breakfast. Small silver dollar pancakes + whip cream + strawberries = a layered, yummy, breakfast cake. Although the whip cream lost its stamina on the hot pancake.
After breakfast, Cate wasted no time tearing into those presents.
Box number one = a pretty summer dress to wear to church, out to dinner in Hilton Head, and anywhere else that warrants a cute dress.
And box number two....
...was a small, toy piano (but black and shiny so it looks like a miniature version of the real thing).
She banged out a tune right away. Clearly the piano is a hit. We're not sure what we're going to do this afternoon (besides let her destroy a cupcake). We were going to go play at the Children's Museum, but Cate has a lovely cold along with her ear infection and I'd rather her not pick up more germs.

More birthday fun to come later and the big family get together is this weekend!

~Melody :-)