allie’s first(s)

This week Allie turned ONE YEAR OLD! I can’t even believe it. This whole month has been filled with excitement for her, and with this milestone birthday I figured it was time for an Allie update. Here are her most recent firsts:

  1. First time army crawling forward (and scooting): She is taking her time with the whole mobility thing, but I’m cool with it. For the longest time she would just push herself backwards on her tummy, but, especially when in pursuit of an iPhone, Allie will army crawl across any room like a mad woman! I’m trying to help her get better at going from sitting to tummy, but most of the time she’ll opt for the bum scoot across the floor. Silly girl.
  2. First time trying sour cream: She loved it. Like smeared-all-over-herself-and-shoved-desperately-into-her-mouth loved it.
  3. First solid week of 12-hour sleep stretches: I thank Florida for this. It just started happening consistently out of the blue. She had slept through the night a few times in the past, but usually she’d wake up between 3-5 AM to nurse then go back down. But KNOCK ON WOOD, things are changing. I’m sure she’ll probably just start teething or get sick or something, then we’ll be back to hourly wake-ups…
  4. First but most definitely not last time eating ice: She takes after her mom. At the top (or bottom?) of Allie’s food pyramid, just above watermelon, is ice.
  5. First non-mama/dada words (almost): So this started a little more than a month ago, but Allie is the consonant queen. She always points to the fan and says “ffff” over and over. She says “kkkk” when she sees the kitties. She says “shhh” when she sees my shoes (or feet—we’re still working on that one). Lately she’s started pointing to my water bottle and saying “wawa” while smiling happily. And today, big news, but I *swear* she said the word “book” while we were reading stories. It was probably an accident, but she definitely does say “buh” over and over and point at the books. She’s on her way!
  6. First successful self-administering of her bottle: I was holding it for her for the longest time, but she finally mastered the tilt back and drinks all on her own now. Yay!
  7. First time at the beach: The most glorious thing about living in Florida is that the beach is so close! Really, almost anywhere in Florida is an hour or less from the ocean. This is amazing. So earlier this week we drove to the Atlantic for Allie’s first beach trip. She loved it!! She did eat a lot of sand, but I’m told that’s okay. She loved the waves and being tossed and bounced up and down in the water. I can’t wait to go back again and again with her! (Sidenote: Putting sunscreen on a one-year-old has got to be one of the most difficult feats of humanity.)
  8. First time falling asleep in the car (in a LONG time): Allie never sleeps in the car, or at least hasn’t in several months, but on the way back from the beach, she just quietly passed out. I was amazed!
  9. First birthday: And of course, we celebrated Allie’s big day! Nothing too huge, since we’re still freshly moved. Allie and I went to a playdate with some new friends in the afternoon. She swam in the little kiddie pool and just giggled and smiled and kicked in the water. During her second nap I decorated the house in streamers and those poofy tissue paper balls and a “happy birthday” banner, and when Ben got home from work, we had dinner then sang her “happy birthday” as I brought in the chocolate cake. I’m not sure what I expected, perhaps crazy eyes and a mad rush to consume ALL THE CHOCOLATE, but she took some convincing. She threw the first couple of pieces on the floor (that’s her thing these days), but after I fed her a piece directly she got interested and ate the rest. Not a bad thing to eat chocolate in moderation, I suppose! While we didn’t have a real party for her here, we had friends celebrating remotely!*
  10. First time at DisneyWorld: Okay, so maybe not officially, but tonight we went to Downtown Disney for dinner and watched Allie take it all in. We’re looking forward to going back whenever we decide to get our annual passes!

Overall, this has been a stressful but super fun past couple of months. Allie continues to be the brightest part of my day and my best girl friend. I love how much more she understands and how we see her learn new things every day. I am amazed at how much personality she packs into that tiny body!

* Since we knew we’d be new with few friends for Allie’s birthday, I did a little advanced planning and sent a few “party in a box” boxes to a handful of family and our closest friends (had my budget allowed, they would have gone to many more!). The boxes included party hats, horns/blowouts, candles, matches, and instructions for celebrating Allie-style. If we can’t celebrate in person with a lot of our good friends, this is the next best thing! I asked “attendees” to document their celebrations, and I’ve already received a few of the submissions. Love!

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the daily bubble

Ben and I recently watched a movie in which (completely unrelated to the main plot of the movie) this family does something each day called “the daily bubble”—basically, this couple and their young daughter create a big soap bubble and count the seconds until it pops. So yesterday, on our way back from froyo for possibly the second time in the last three days, we popped into a dollar store on a whim and picked up a bottle of bubbles. And what began as a fun family activity meant for Allie’s benefit quickly turned into a mad science project of Ben’s to create THE. PERFECT. BUBBLE. So Allie and I just chilled on our blanket enjoying the sunshine, watching the perfectionist at work.

Other highlights from this week:

  • Allie’s top four teeth are all pretty much out! They are moving at different paces, but this teething cycle certainly struck with force.
  • The day after our family hike, we went back for a family picnic! It was so awesome! Allie wore her shades almost the whole time and enjoyed a lunch of a couple of her favorites, chicken and watermelon.

  • Allie has started dancing. How awesome is that? She rocks back and forth to—you guessed it—”What Does the Fox Say?” and smiles. So freaking adorable. (I had a video to embed, but I can’t figure out how to upload to YouTube without making it searchable. Boo.)
  • She continues to wave at EVERYONE. Like, random strangers who aren’t even looking at her. She just waves and waves and occasionally finishes off by clapping, almost as if she’s applauding her awesome waving skills.
  • She also continues to sleep solely on her tummy. When I put her in her crib, I can’t even get her sleep sack zipped up before she’s rolled over.
  • Crawling update: Still not happening, and we’re okay with that. But she does desperately flex and straighten her legs with her little bum in the air, scooting around in a circle on her belly to get things she wants.
  • Things Allie is especially loving lately:
    • Vacuums (unflinching eyes glued in the direction of any vacuuming, with no attention to spare for, say, eating)
    • Ceiling fans (half fear, half fascination)
    • Playing airplane (flying on my feet)
    • Cats and dogs (loud squeals every time she sees one)
    • Fruit (she lives for watermelon and grapes)
    • Her quiet book pages (so speedily sent to us by Chelsea)
    • Froyo (don’t tell, but I let her have some of my watermelon sorbet)
    • Pressing buttons (like the “yellow” button on this play center we have… over and over again)
    • Knocking down anything that is stacked up (the main motivator we’re using to help her learn to crawl)

In short, we are having so much fun with Allie these days! She is so giggly and goofy, with more and more personality coming out every day. But I am sort of terrified for when she starts crawling…

overcoming parenthood paranoia

When I was pregnant, I used to joke about the fact that I’d be a clingy, overprotective mom. I had no idea. Before we had Allie, when we would go on trips, we’d ask friends to either stay at our house or visit every day to feed and give a little love to our cats. I would ask them to text me pictures of the kitties every time they visited. (Seriously.) It wasn’t that I didn’t trust our friends; it was that my heart needed assurance our kitties were okay without us. If I was THAT obsessive about our pets, you can imagine how it’s been since Allie was born.

In her nine months out of the womb, I’ve probably only left Allie alone for an extended period with someone else (including Ben) nine times. I constantly have horrible scenes circling through my mind of every possible bad thing that could happen to her. And there have still been a couple of times she’s gotten hurt in my care (like the MOST AWFUL DAY EVER at Disneyland when she was just two months old [note to self: NEVER take a small infant to Disney again], and I accidentally dropped her as I went to sit us down in the mother’s lounge. I think I cried for an hour; Allie maybe cried for five minutes). The fact that even I—who spends every waking second worrying about Allie—can still not completely protect her has made me almost completely unwilling to let other people watch her.

Many people give me a really hard time about this. Others are understanding or admit it was the same for them with their first kids. Either way, I totally recognize that I will have to eventually let go. The other day, I had just decided that it was time for a real date with Ben, meaning neither one of us could watch Allie, when I read this article in The Atlantic. While it’s mostly talking about older kids, the article basically says that kids need to be left alone to play and potentially get hurt in order to be successful, independent, functioning members of society. I totally get it. I totally agree. But then, I tell myself, WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS? This cycle repeats itself in my mind over and over, and I just end up staying with Allie all the time. But, for Allie’s benefit, I think it’s time I try to loosen my grip a bit.

So the plan is that I’ll just start with small chunks of time. That way, it works her and me up to longer stretches of time. Yesterday Ben went to REI while I worked, and Allie stayed with my mom (upstairs) for about an hour. Allie was totally fine! I think I just need time to get comfortable with the separation (oh, and Allie probably does, too). Maybe one day, I’ll even let Allie go to preschool without me! At least here’s to hoping.

the weekly cute returns

For a while I was doing weekly updates about Allie with recent pics and somehow got out of the habit, but I had this feeling just now (okay, it never really goes away) that time is passing by and I need to document everything! So these are pics from the last couple of weeks.

A few of the recent highlights in the world of Allie include the following:

  1. Sleeping on her tummy! She rolls herself over at naptime and apparently just loves to sleep perpendicularly in her crib.. and on her stomach.
  2. Saying ba. First it was da, then ga, and now ba. I find it interesting that she learns a new sound and just keeps doing it over and over until she learns the next one.
  3. Swimming for the first time! Well, floating. We swam at our hotel stay then went to the rec center on President’s Day with our little infant floaty ring. She loves the water! But, as with bathtime, she hates getting out!
  4. Inhaled shrieks. I don’t know what else to call them, but Allie has recently been making these shrieky noises when she’s playing or when she’s really happy.
  5. Using my hands as her implements. She especially loves when we’re sitting at the piano and I have her on my lap, and she grabs my hands and slams them down on the keys. Wonder where her controlling nature comes from…
  6. Rolling as transportation. She’s been doing this for a while now, but sometimes when she’s sitting she’ll intentionally fall back then start rolling across the floor, back to front and front to back, over and over. She has only been able to roll three directions (only rolls to the right when she’s on her tummy) but the other day finally got the fourth down! We sometimes turn away for a second and she’s across the room!

Overall, she is very happy and smiley, sleeping better and better, and absolutely obsessed with apple juice. Love our little one something fierce!

februallie + me: black edition

Aaand we’re back with another baby + mama outfit post! Katie of For Lauren and Lauren is making this a bi-weekly thing, and we are happy to join in again. I put my outfit on and Ben’s response was, “Hmm.. it’s very black.” It’s true. While I love colors, I could probably wear all black all the time and be fine. As Grace of Stripes & Sequins recently shared, the trick to an all-black look is to mix textures. I certainly have no shortage of black everything in my wardrobe, but it’s been harder to find black baby clothes for Allie. There just aren’t a ton out there. But when she sports her black I of course have to coordinate!

Allie’s outfit>> top (can’t find it online), leggings, cardigan: Target | shoes: gifted
My outfit>> leather jacket: gifted; top: Anthroplogie | leggings: Nordstrom | ankle boots: DSW (old)

This *Februallie* has been an eventful month thus far. A few recent Allie highlights include:

  1. Rolling over both front-back and back-front, back and forth in quick succession, usually in pursuit of some contraband mom item (e.g., cell phone, sunglasses) or an attempted escape from the crib (not there yet, thank goodness).
  2. Saying “da” and “ga” over and over again with great enthusiasm.
  3. Huffing and breathing heavily through her bottom teeth. We’re not really sure what this one’s about.

She continues to smile like a cheeseball, play the piano dramatically, vocalize loudly in public places, and bounce constantly in her jumperoo every time we give her the chance. She totally wears me out, but I’m okay with it.

anchors and stripes, oh baby

For the first time ever, I am participating in a link up! Katie of For Lauren and Lauren is hosting this post-sharing party of mamas with their babies, and I just couldn’t pass it up.

my outfit: Banana Republic cardigan | Olivia Moon v-neck (Nordstrom) | NYC street vendor pashmina | Citizens of Humanity jeans | Steve Madden boots | J.Crew necklace | Kate Spade bracelet

Allie’s outfit (all from Crazy 8): top | jeans | shoes (can’t find them online, but I’m dying over these and these)

Not gonna lie, I try to coordinate my outfit with Allie’s as often as I can. Since for most of the day she is right next to me, it makes me happy to see us match. Her little outfit here was a total impulse buy from Crazy 8 earlier this week. I have a special love of anchors as a symbol (a story for another day), and I have an incredibly hard time resisting any item with an anchor on it.

Allie was a great sport for our little photo shoot, apart from trying to remove her shoes from her feet and attempt to eat them as quickly as possible. A few other recent Allie tidbits:

  • This girl loves playing the piano. As in, she shrieks loudly if I pull her away before she’s ready.
  • She has started doing this super cheesy smile (see above), and I totally love it.
  • After a couple of months of rolling front to back, she finally rolled over from back to front this week!

So glad to have an excuse to bust out our good camera and get some matchy pics together!

tales from the crib

This became my new desktop background this week:

Sweet little happy girl. Today was not an easy day (I guess no days are easy anymore), but her cute smiling face is what keeps me going when I’ve pretty much decided to pack my bags, hop on a plane south, and open a fruit stand on a Caribbean island. No, actually, maybe we could make that work…

Allie’s big news this week was learning to play peekaboo! We’ve played it with her a few times, but she learned how to do it herself, and she could probably go on for hours if we kept up our surprised reactions for that long.

It’s really quite adorable. We also, after (to my great shame) feeding her store-bought solids, began the homemade baby food adventure this week. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve had a very difficult time finding information about preparing baby food at home that is actual useful to an exhausted and time-constrained mom. The issue isn’t that there isn’t info out there, it’s just that there’s so much of it. Too much. I finally found a few websites that give you a list of the approved foods by age, with links to basic recipes. That’s all I needed! And I just have to say—puréed peas prepared at home are about a million shades more brilliant green than the store-bought variety. And Allie found great pleasure in getting them all over her face. We also missed the rice cereal boat when we first introduced solids and decided to give it a go this week. Allie’s response was an enthusiastic, “Ummm no.”

This adorable creature continues to be our primary source of awe and amusement. Her favorite toys are my water bottle (still), her buckets (still), and Opa’s old cell phone. She also loves playing a vigorous game of tug-of-war if we try to take any of these things from her.

Parenthood is not easy, but it is definitely a lot of fun!

the weekly cute

Our household is basically in a pattern of little bursts of sleep and intermittent wakeful periods during which we attempt to get everything done but mostly just feel tired. In other words, teething is upon us.

I wondered if Allie was in milestone mode a few nights ago when she woke up every hour after we put her down, then a couple of days ago we felt a little spike in her mouth, and it all makes sense. So blogging falls somewhere below napping and eating on my list of priorities this week, as we scramble to keep our sleep-deprived selves together.

Yet despite all this, Allie continues to be almost constantly smiley and happy, and there was plenty of cute to go around this week. Some of the highlights:

And now back to sleep…

current distractions and the weekly cute

Like many others enjoying vacay this week, I’ve slowed my blogging pace a bit lately. A few of my reasons for such are as follows:

  • Family time/chaos: And there has been lots of it. Yesterday we had five kids under six running around, with a few older ones on top of that, and I asked my mom (of eight kids) if that’s how it was when we were younger. There was always someone crying, someone demanding attention, someone hungry. Oh good times. It’s probably a good thing for Allie to be around other kids and realize she’s not the center of the whole world… just mine.
  • Board games: A big part of family time in my family is board games, and yesterday my sister introduced us to Telestrations. Honestly, guys, I haven’t laughed that hard in a really long time. It’s basically a combo of telephone and pictionary, and I was dying. We also played Loaded Questions, another good one to play with family. So fun!
  • Reading: Gone are the days (for me) of getting engrossed in a good book and never looking up from it for hours, but I can squeeze in as much reading as I can during Allie’s naps. When I was creating my Christmas wish list I glanced at some of the bestsellers on Amazon and discovered Divergent, which I’m sure all of you heard of a million years ago. All I saw was that it was fiction and popular, and because I love surprises, I just added it to my wish list without finding what it was about. It turned up under the tree on Christmas morning, and I am totally hooked. I’m refusing to watch the movie trailer until I finish the book (to maintain my mental pictures of the characters), and now that I’m thinking about it, I should probably go ahead and order book 2 in the series to have ready… It takes a real effort to do anything besides read these days!

But, as a mom, you can’t ever completely escape daily life, and I suppose I wouldn’t want to, with such a cute little one around! She’s been up to all sorts of cuteness and trouble this week:

  1. I think Allie is officially a sitter upper. She’ll sit up without help for 10 or 15 minutes or more and only fall if she reaches too far for a toy. She loved doing this with all her new treasures on Christmas morning!
  2. She learned how to clap! But even better than that, we have trained her to clap on cue to, wait for it, What Does the Fox Say. Specifically, the first part of the first chorus (ringdingding). I’m telling you, we play it or sing it, she claps. We have tested this about 15 times, and it always works!
  3. For the first time ever, Allie cried yesterday when we took something away from her (a piece of cardboard, of course). I guess she’s learning to form object attachments, and this is just the beginning…

A few of my favorite iPhone pics from the week:

Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend!!

the weekly cute

This week has been a flurry of (online) Christmas shopping, working + momming, and, well, snow. Always the snow.

Allie’s latest developments:

  1. Finding and attempting to eat her feet. Hope she drops this habit before she starts walking.
  2. Being ticklish under her chin and giggling like crazy when we exploit this fact.
  3. Refusing tummy time outright by immediately rolling onto her back whenever we put her on her tummy. And repeating this each time we try again.
  4. Very clearly demanding more food with little desperate shouts when we aren’t fast enough with the spoonfuls.
  5. Sitting up for 20-30 seconds at a time on her own!
  6. Possibly learning some of the signs we’re teaching her. She seems to do the sign for “more” during her solids feedings, and she totally mimicked me when I held my arms up for “finished” last night! Perhaps just a coincidence, but still fun!

Photo highlights of the week: