Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Belated Halloween

Dear Hazel,
So, Halloween came and went without a whole lot of fanfare. You had a great time considering you were dealing with a severe case of the trots. But, we got you dressed up and ready to go Trick-or-Treating around the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, it was super cold and rainy that day so we ended up making it a really quick trip.

We started by carving the pumpkins. You loved it!

Then we went to visit the neighbors in your costume.

I "made" your costume this year. In that I sewed a black boa on a pair of black spandex to look like a cat tail. Yep. You've got a super talented mom and didn't even know.

We had to call the evening short because it started raining, but before that, you were enjoying sitting on Daddy's shoulders.

For future reference, putting makeup on a one-year-old for Halloween? Like giving a cat a bath. Only more bleeding.

You enjoyed the one piece of candy that I dared let you have. And even then, you only just chewed on the plastic.

Overall, I'd say it was a successful Halloween. Even if it was technically the day before Halloween since they don't celebrate Halloween on Sundays in Utah.

Get used to it.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monthly Update - Months 12-13

Dear Hazel,
This one is late, too. See the previous entry for why. Suffice it to say I'm trying to make up two months for you and an untold number of weeks to Squirt all in one night. This could require one or two slices of pie to keep me motivated. We shall see.

So, 13 months. My goodness, where has the time gone? Too fast, I tell you. A year ago at this time, I was just getting used to the idea of being a Mommy, and more often than not, failing miserably at it. I'll be honest with you, baby girl, the first few weeks of your life? I wasn't sure I was cut out for this kind of thing. I wasn't sure I could be the mother you needed or would even want. And I really wasn't sure it was EVER going to get better.

But, oh my... what a little time and a sweet little girl can give you in perspective. You brighten up my life, Hazel. I can no longer remember what life was like without you.

You're no longer a little baby. As your friend Jill said to her Mama the other day: "Baby Hazel's not a baby anymore."

Ah... the wisdom of children. Because she's right. You're not a baby anymore. You're this incredible little girl with a beautiful personality and spirit. And I can't believe you're ours!

Leading up to your first birthday, you really perfected the art of walking. And falling. And I do mean perfected, as you've learned that the best way to fall is on one's backside, rather than on one's front tooth. Which makes your Daddy feel a lot better as he was the one standing there when you fell on the sidewalk in front of the house and landed on said tooth. It really tore him up and he's been guilty of a little Heli-Parenting ever since. But, I knew you'd figure it out sooner or later. You're a smart one, little girl. Almost too smart.

You're also super mischievious. In fact, I no longer get to take showers in the morning if you're out and about because you've learned the art of opening doors and the child proof area that you had been confined to is now a joke to you. I got out of the shower one morning to discover the bedroom door WIDE open. And silence. I called your name and still... nothing. I walked into the room and looked in the bathroom to see you elbow deep in the toilet, splashing around... happy as a lark.

I only giggled for a minute before realizing how close to a catastrophe I had just come. Kids drown in toilets all the time. So... now if a shower is to be had in the morning, it must come before you wake up. And sometimes, when you wake up at 6 a.m.? THAT REALLY STINKS.

You are also really into mimicking everything Mommy and Daddy do. In the mornings, you like to come into the bathroom and steal my pick and then proceed to try to comb your hair with it.

And can we talk about your hair for a second? First off, where'd you get the blonde? And where, pray tell did you get the curls in the back? You've definitely got a party going on back there. And, I'll be honest, I really don't know what to do with it. Cuz you're flat on front, curly in the back and those curls are really preventing any length from manifesting itself. So, you're the kid that goes to school without her hair done in anything resembling a "style". Yep. You're THAT kid. Sorry. If it makes you feel better, you should see MY hair these days.

I really think that you got your hair color and curl from my Grandma Paskins. Her name was Beatrice and she and I were pretty close. We used to pick raspberries in her garden. She made the best desserts. She tried to teach me piano (fail) and crochet (double fail). I'd make her tea for "medicinal purposes" and listen to her ruminate about growing up in the depression. Anyway, she had the strawberry blonde color your sporting and had some curl to it. This is the only explanation as no one else in our family has curly hair, and I'm pretty sure your Daddy's side of the family also has straight hair.

You still love you some kitty cat and always go to pet Nytro first thing in the morning while she's eating and I'm trying to get you loaded into the car for school. Luckily, as long as there's food in the bowl, Nytro is fine with your pets. And you've learned to pet softly, so no one gets hurt.

I think they may have taught you that in school. By the way, you still LOVES you some school. I asked the day care to move you into the toddler room a bit earlier than normal because you were killing us in the evenings when you'd only taken a 30 minute nap at 10 a.m. For your information, THAT is a recipe for DISASTER. And the weekends? Let's not even TALK about the weekends.

In the toddler room, they're more regimented and naps are from 11:30-2. It took you just a few days and you fell right into step with the rest of the kids. And those kids? You LOVE them. Every day when I drop you off, you get so excited to see everyone. And the toys in the toddler room are so. much. better than the infant room. There are things to crawl on, books to read, fishies to look at and chairs!!! Chairs for you to sit in! And a table for you to eat with the other kids around. Seriously, you are in heaven in that room.

Fall came around slowly this year... and for that I'm grateful. I needed summer to last longer since winter had hung around until June of this year. But, when the leaves started to fall and we had to start putting you in a jacket to go outside, a whole new world opened up for you. You LOVE leaves. For real. And rocks, apparently.

You also love the river... which makes your Daddy happy since so much of his professional life is about rivers, but it also scares the devil out of both Mommy and Daddy because you REALLY love the river and once you see it or hear it, there's no keeping you away from it.

You are such a great eater... you eat just about anything but it's becoming more and more important to you to eat what Mommy or Daddy is eating. Sometimes directly off of our plates. You love spaghetti, peas, bananas, peaches and strawberries. And toast. You like to walk around the house in the morning carrying a piece of toast while babbling to yourself. I don't know if you're going through a growth spurt or what, but honestly, these days you're eating more than Mommy is. And Mommy's pregnant! Your typical breakfast? Let's see... a banana to eat while you walk around the house checking for weaknesses in the perimeter. This gives me about 60 seconds to get breakfast ready without you standing in the kitchen, directly underfoot, reaching for whatever is on the counter and crying because you're hungry and there's not any food in your hand at exactly that moment. Once breakfast is served, you'll usually eat a whole adult-sized bowl of oatmeal, or three eggs, or a pancake or french toast, and then possibly another fruit.

And then? Then we take you to school where I just found out you've been having a SECOND breakfast. And that's pretty much the story for lunch, snack and dinner. Although, I must say that when you are waiting for second breakfast at school, you sit demurely in your chair at the table and watch patiently as they get your food for you. No crying. No whining. No tears.


This month, you've finally decided that you'll tolerate milk. I think part of it was the fact that you had a nasty bout of diarrhea that lasted almost 3 weeks and we couldn't give you formula... only Pedialyte. That finally cured you of your bottle fixation and then you begrudgingly accepted a little milk.

I don't want to dwell too much on the diarrhea... suffice it to say that 2-3 times a night, someone had a nasty, stinky blowout. And I was doing laundry almost daily just so you had PJ's and sheets to sleep on that night. But demeanor-wise? Never would have known you had the runs. You were perfectly happy and content. The diaper rash that accompanied the diarrhea? That was really something special. You did NOT like that and I felt so bad... you even had skin sloughing off from the burn! Poor kiddo. But, as with everything we rookie parents go through with a first-born, this too passed. And we stored that knowledge for future reference.

You recently went to the zoo. It wasn't your first time, but it was the first time that you were old enough to enjoy parts of it... rather than just staying in the stroller the whole time. We saw monkeys, elephants, giraffes and crocodiles.

Wanna know what you liked the most? The water feature at the entrance to the zoo. We spent a good 30 minutes there. Yep. We bought a membership for THAT.

You also enjoyed the carousel where you rode a zebra that went up and down. We didn't really think you cared for it... until the ride ended and then OH. MY. GOD. Someone was NOT happy about the ride ending and wanted to ride some more. All the other kids got off without a word, but you... well, let's just say that everyone at the zoo that day knew what you thought about the situation.

Shortly after your first birthday party, you started to get really fussy. Like, all the time. And Daddy and I were wondering what demon child had overtaken our beautiful little girl. You would walk around the house all day, groaning and crying. You cried over EVERYTHING. And the fact that you can't communicate with us to tell us what's wrong frustrates you, us and probably the neighbors.

After about two weeks of that act, Daddy finally figured out the cause of your misery - there had to be a reason, right? It's not just the misery of being alive, right? And, yes... there it was. Our answer. Someone was teething three of her four first-year molars. AT THE SAME TIME.

No. Wonder.

Epic fail by Mommy and Daddy on that. We started giving you Tylenol and some teething rings and voila! Our baby is back!

We also bought a membership to the Treehouse Museum for you to visit on the weekends. Oh my... someone's a big fan of the Treehouse and all the cool stuff they have there. And, um... you like it too. Mostly because it has stairs. Did I not mention? You are obsessed with stairs. I don't mind you going up them so much, since you use your crawling technique. But something's not clicking in your brain for coming down the stairs. You think you can just walk down them like Mommy and Daddy. And I'm afraid it's gonna take a big fall for you to figure things out. Until then, we'll just have to hover.

But, yes... the Treehouse has all sorts of cool things. Including horsies! Except you can do without the hat, thankyouverymuch.

You are quite the dancer these days. You love it when we turn on Pandora to a kids station. You giggle and jiggle around.

You also REALLY like it when Mommy does the Hokey Pokey or the Happy Song. And you've apparently learned hand movements for Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at school. So that's fun.

You are all about books these days. You want us to read to you all the time and you definitely have your favorite. You love the Pop-Up Nursery Rhyme book Grandma and Grandpa got you for your birthday... but you prefer the ones that we can sing to you. You also love, love, LOVE the Wheels on the Bus book that someone cursed - I mean - blessed us with. We sing that song at least 15 times a day. And it doesn't matter where that book is, you manage to find it, bring it to me and then crawl on my lap, lay back, suck your thumb, twirl your hair and listen.

And let's talk about the hair twirling for a moment.

It's adorable. You are a left-thumb sucker and a right-hand twirler. And it's constant. It's how you soothe yourself, so I'm cool with it.

You've started to talk to yourself and to us. A lot. I'm convinced that your first word took place a few weeks ago and was, of all things: Moo. It happened when you were reading a book with Daddy and he pointed to a cow and said "moo". Afterwhich, you pointed to the same cow and said "moo". Three or four times. The day after than, you said "doggie" when pointing to a picture of a dog. And just this morning, I could have sworn you said "woof" after I pointed to the doggie and said "woof". Of course, your Grandpa is happy that your first word was moo. He's ready to buy you your very own cow.

That should about cover the last couple of months. You are growing in leaps and bounds and I'm sure I've forgotten something super cute or important. But, that's the way life goes, I guess. Too fast.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Birthday Post - A Month Late

Dear Hazel,
You'll have to forgive me, as this post is late. Really late. Not as late as the post that I was supposed to write about our trip to San Diego in June... and is still unwritten... but late just the same.

In my defense, since your birthday we've had Halloweeen (yet another post I haven't written!), and both your Daddy and I have suffered through back-to-back sinus infections.

And you... well, you had 3 weeks of waking up covered in diarrhea 2-3 times a night.

And severe diaper rash.

All while teething 3 of your 4 molars.

By the way, all of Mommy and Daddy's friends who didn't tell us how miserable a teething child could be and how our quality of life would suffer until those stupid molars poked through... well, they've got some explaining to do.


So, a post about the awesomeness that was your Big Day kind of got pushed to the bottom of our priority list. But, things have returned to normal, well the "new normal" of having a toddler running the house.

But, more on that in a later post. For now, let's talk about your First Birthday!!!

We invited some close friends to come celebrate your big day and it was a huge success! We are so glad that we had set up the basement as the "kid" room and that's where you spent most of the day. You were the Belle of the Ball and since you were also the youngest in attendance, all of the other kids doted on you by pushing you around your little train and feeding you chips. And when they weren't doing that, they were busy jumping in the Jump-O-Lene that Daddy had blown up - singlehandedly! - for the occasion.

I have to admit, leading up to the Big Day, I was kind of worried that no one would come. Not that there was anything that led me to believe people wouldn't come. But, you know... I'd never been to a First Birthday party, so I didn't know if people would actually come or if they would think it was a stupid idea. Hazel... EVERYONE that we invited showed up. EVERYONE. We couldn't believe it! Pretty soon we had over 20 people upstairs and who knows how many kids downstairs??? All I know is that I'm pretty sure that our house exceeded its maximum occupancy under the Fire Code.

You opened up presents and had help from Sydney, Sarah, Gavin and Cressie.

You were a big fan of the new rocking chair that Mommy and Daddy got you. I searched the city high and low for the perfect chair... one that was timeless and could stand up to the wear and tear you are bound to bestow upon it. I knew there had to be one out there that met those criteria. My parents still have a rocking chair that all three of us kids used. I finally found one at a consignment shop. From the 1890's. And I gotta think, if it's survived intact for over 100 years? We can get a few more years out of it.

And the verdict?

You spent the entire present opening time on that chair. So I think you like it.

Grandma and Grandpa Paskins got you a homemade Raggedy Ann doll. It's all yours, Hazel. And no one else in the world has that doll. I'm hoping that when you're old enough to appreciate it, you'll actually.... you know, appreciate it. Because the only time you pay attention to that doll right now is if she happens to be sitting in your chair. And this is an unacceptable event in your world.

You definitely cleaned up at your birthday, baby girl. You got a teapot and tea set, building blocks, a puzzle, birdhouses and books!! LOTS AND LOTS OF BOOKS! And seriously, thank goodness for new books because you were so. over. your little collection of books. The new additions saved Mommy and Daddy's bacon and bought us at least a couple more months before we have to go find new books for you to ooo and awwwww at.

After the debauchery of the present opening, it was time for your birthday cake. Our friends from the coffee shop recommended someone to make the cake for us, and it was totally worth it. And if Mommy had been thinking straight, she would have taken a picture of the cake when it was dropped off, instead of waiting to take a picture while dozens of hungry children were surrounding her waiting to dive into the cake. (And eating one of the eyes when Mommy wasn't looking.)

Your cake was in the shape of a kitty-cat... your favorite animal. Up until two weeks ago when you discovered monkeys. Anyway, the kitty-cat was all yours. And you elected to play with it and throw frosting everywhere.... until Daddy put a piece of cake in your mouth.

OH. MY. It was GAME ON from that moment on. You're definitely my child when it comes to your sweet tooth.

While we didn't get a still picture of you actually eating the cake, we do have a pic of the end result.

Everyone else partook of the bigger version of your cake as you stumbled around the house, drunk on fatigue (yep... guess who skipped her nap on her birthday?), sugar and the kid-mania that had infested our house for a few hours. You were such a trooper, Hazel. You stayed up all the way until 7:30!!! After which Mommy and Daddy cleaned up the house, and then sat on the sofa mumbling incoherently. What a day!!!

I have to admit, a year ago I didn't know how we were going to make it through the day, much less a whole year. I wasn't sure I could do it. But now? You are just the most amazing little girl. You have such a sweet spirit and when you're not teething, you're full of giggles and delighted screams.

Thank you for joining our family. Thank you for causing my heart to burst out of my chest every time I see you. Thank you for making me actually want to have another one! You're going to be a great big sister and I can't wait for our family to become whole.



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bump Watch - Weeks 23-25

Dear Squirt,
HOLY. CRAP. You're going to be making your appearance into this world in just about three months. WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE??

Just a quick update since I've been absolutely freakin' terrible at tracking this pregnancy for reasons mentioned in previous entries.

- I am carrying you really, REALLY low. So when you kick or move around it's a completely different feeling than when Hazel kicked.

- Since you're so low, I haven't yet had any problems breathing and your Daddy has yet to record my snoring. Again. Perhaps he learned his lesson the first time?

- You've had to put up with Mommy taking medication for yet another sinus infection. Blame Daddy for this one.

- Amazingly, my back aches have disappeared... which is a really good thing because I don't think I would have survived the next three months with back pain.

- I haven't had any specific cravings with you... other than baked goods. Oh how I LOVES me some Great Harvest Bread in the morning. One of these days, you'll be able to appreciate the goodness of a free slice of pumpkin chocolate chip bread before work. I do wish that I was craving something - ANYTHING - remotely healthy.

- I am huge. No. Seriously. Huge. One of the reasons I haven't been posting pics. Well, that and do you think Mommy can remember to take a picture each week? Do you think she has time to take a picture each week? In between changing diapers and trying to cheer up a teething baby? Nope.

- Have we even remotely started getting your room ready for you? Nope. This is because we know that for the first month or so, you'll be in our room with us. We also need to order some wall decals, an area rug, a new door and a a changing table. Daddy also needs to get some of his friends over to help move the desks from the office downstairs to make room for your crib. Which means we need to order some beer and pizza. The only thing we do have right now is your crib. But it's not put together. Because that would require us to be responsible and on top of things... and I gotta be honest, sometimes we just aren't. These days, we're lucky if we remember to turn on the dishwasher so we have spoons for breakfast in the morning.

Yep. That's pretty much it these days. I can't believe you're going to join us so soon. I can't believe we're gonna jump on that ride again. I can't wait to meet you and to see what you look like. I can't wait to see how your big sister reacts to you. I cannot wait for you to join our little family. I think you'll be the perfect addition. And I can't wait to spend hours with you in my arms.

Keep safe in there, little Squirt.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween Hazel!

Minutes after this was taken, Mommy's heart melted and puddled in her shoes.