firsts

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Beach Day | nextlifechapter.comYesterday was a great day and worthy of note. We decided to spend the day at the beach and Tim insisted we drive a little further to the “real Florida beach” at St. George Island. I’m not sure it was worth the extra 45-minute drive, but the sand dunes were lovely and the beach accommodations were better than those at Bald Point.

We bought boiled peanuts along the side of the road on our way out (a true Southern treat…salty and soft like beans, not crunchy like roasted peanuts). We did get some rain and even had to eat our lunch in the van due to a passing storm, but in true Florida style, the bad weather passed quickly. It was a fun afternoon of jumping in the waves with Adelaide, playing in the sand, and resting in the shade of the beach umbrella while June napped on my belly.

On the way home, we hoped for good seafood and chance found us at the Seineyard Seafood Restaurant where we had a delicious meal and super-friendly service. (Tim can convince me to go to St. George Island any time if we can stop there on the way back.)

But what made the day truly remarkable was what happened the night before we went to the beach. For the second night in a row, June slept seven hours straight, in her crib in the room she and Adelaide share. It may not sound like much, but we haven’t had many nights like that since moving to Florida.

And–this is the biggie–Adelaide went to bed and slept the entire night without her pacifier. Aside from perhaps a few weeks of infanthood, this was the first night of her four years of life without a paci. This is a big, big deal in our house and for Adelaide. We have attempted to wean her from the paci several times in the past. “But I love it,” she once told me, such a sincere, yet sad plea.

When June was born, we decided to pick our battles and let it go. She only used the paci when she slept at night and it brought her such comfort that my post-partum self couldn’t emotionally handle the fight. I figured (hoped? prayed?) that she would give it up when she was ready. We did hang the carrot of “an awesome prize” over her head, telling her that she could choose something awesome at the store when she decided to give up her paci forever.

Well, tonight makes the third night in a row that she has gone without. I’m so proud of this young lady before me. I swear she seems to have grown an inch in the last month, and while it’s probably just coincidence, she’s been particularly pout and whine free this last week. My baby is growing up. And maybe, just maybe (knock on wood), I may once again get to regularly have a good night’s sleep.

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As promised in yesterday’s gender reveal post, here is the video of us telling Adelaide she’s going to be a big sister. As a child in the two-year-old room at school, Adelaide started to notice that all of her friends were “getting babies.” I had noticed it too. One-by-one nearly all the moms in Adelaide’s class started showing increasingly big bellies. One-by-one they started bringing babies home from the hospital.

“I want a baby Silas like Gwen,” Adelaide told us one day. She called her baby doll Silas when playing with him. At this point we were already trying, and I told her, “We’ll have to talk to Daddy about it.”

Then, a several weeks later when Colin’s mom delivered a baby girl, she told us she wanted a girl baby like Colin. We already knew we were pregnant by this point, but we didn’t yet know the sex and we hadn’t shared any of the news with her (although I did make her pose for pictures holding up my positive pregnancy tests–she had no idea).

“When you get a baby you don’t get to pick whether it’s a girl baby or a boy baby,” I explained to her while walking home from school one day. “Having a boy baby would be fun too.”

“No. I want a girl baby like Colin,” she said.

“Well, Silas is a boy baby and Gwen loves her baby brother. If we get a baby we will love the baby if it’s a girl or it’s a boy.”

I don’t think I convinced her. We decided to wait and tell Adelaide our good news until after we saw and heard the heartbeat, after the genetics testing came back okay. We told her just a couple of days before our wedding anniversary where we opened the card that revealed the baby’s sex. We tried to control Adelaide’s expectations and since she has no concept of time, we told her the baby wasn’t going to come for a long time. The baby still had a lot of growing to do, and it wouldn’t come until after Christmas, when it got cold.

Big Sister Announcement from nextlifechapter on Vimeo.

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Last year, on October 1, Adelaide moved out of the infant room at her daycare and into the young toddler’s room, and I blogged about it here.

This year, on Monday, August 26, Adelaide moved out of that young toddler’s room and up to the two-year-old room. I don’t know what she’s going to do without her Kiki and Saddie. (Kiki was her teacher and Saddie is her friend who is a few months younger and not yet moving up). Adelaide talks about “Kiki Saddie” all the time. As if they are one entity. Kiki Saddie. Kiki Saddie.

Adelaide even has a “Saddie shirt.” (It’s actually the t-shirt with the daycare’s logo on it, but Saddie has one too so she calls it her “Saddie shirt.”)  Adelaide also has a Saddie cup. I’m not sure where that even came from because I’ve talked to Saddie’s parents and while Saddie does have sippie cups (don’t they all?) she doesn’t have one like Adelaide’s “Saddie cup.”

I don’t know if Saddie is just an easy name for a toddler to say, or whether this girl has really made that much of an impact on our daughter. All I know is she seems to have Rock Star status at our house.

It’s not as if Adelaide doesn’t know the kids in the two-year-old room. She’s been going to our daycare three-days-a-week since she was 12 weeks old. Most of the other kids in her class were in her toddler room or even her infant room at one point. Our daycare is so small that Adelaide will still see Kiki and Saddie regularly. They all play together in the morning and during pick-up, and they sometimes do other activities together throughout the day. And, with a late October birthday, Saddie will likely be moving up to the two-year-old room later this year.

Although today was day three of being in her new room, Adelaide walked straight into Kiki’s room when she got to school today. Old habits are hard to break, and I don’t think Adelaide quite understands that she’s not in Kiki’s room anymore. While getting dressed this morning and talking about school, it was all “Kiki Saddie.”

To keep the tradition going, here is the new “first day of school” photo from Monday in addition to the photos from the previous two years. It’s so fun to see how much she has grown and changed (and how long her hair has gotten).

First Day of School | http://nextlifechapter.com

First day of school in the two-year-old room – August 26, 2013

First day of school in the young toddler room - October 1, 2012

First day of school in the young toddler room – October 1, 2012

First Day of School | http://nextlifechapter.com

First day of school in the infant room – October 20, 2011

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Adelaide turned two years old today. I thought it was time I finish writing her birth story. I consider this a work in progress, but I finally got the whole story out. Warning: it’s a long one, and it may be too much information for some.

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birth story | http://nextlifechapter.com

Our baby girl was due August 13, 2011. (For the story of our gender reveal check out this post.) At our 12-week ultrasound, the technician said she thought the baby was measuring an August 17 due date.

“August 17?” I asked. “That’s my birthday!”

The technician said she wouldn’t want to be laboring on her birthday, and Tim and I joked that I would never have a birthday again. From then on, the day would be baby’s day, not mine. My doctor decided to leave the due date as August 13 since it was only four days off from my original due date. And while I knew that a “due date” was just an estimate and that I could reasonably go any time two weeks before or two weeks after, I knew it was likely baby and I would have birthdays very close together.

Fast forward to July. My sister bought plane tickets to visit me for a week beginning August 14, the day after my due date. She just found out that she got a new job (yay!) and no longer had the flexibility to come whenever the baby arrived (boo!). I’ll admit I was nervous. I thought there was a good chance I’d go into labor while she was here, and I wasn’t sure I wanted another person around while I was laboring at home and waiting to go to the hospital. I also worried that the baby may be late and my sister would miss her all together. My sister assured me it would be okay. Even if there was no baby yet, we’d hang out, finish getting ready for her, and celebrate my birthday. As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry.

On Tuesday, July 26, I jokingly told Tim I thought the next Wednesday, August 3, would be a good day to deliver. My work had already hired a temporary worker to assist while I was out on maternity leave. I was supposed to start training her Thursday and Friday, July 28 and 29. I figured that by the following Wednesday, I’d have most all my top priority projects wrapped up. My parents were “on call” to drive out from Illinois whenever they got word of baby’s arrival. If she was born on August 3, my parents could come out the following week and still have a week here before my sister arrived on the 14th. I was born on a Wednesday, and August 3rd seemed like a nice day for a birthday. I had it all worked out in my mind.

Still, it was all said tongue in cheek. While at 37 weeks I knew I was technically “full term” and could go at any time, I still figured I’d be late. Even though both my sister and I were early, I had heard that most first-time moms don’t deliver until after their due date. So, when I went into labor in the middle of the night, around 2 am on Thursday, July 28, I totally wasn’t expecting it.

It’s so weird. Wednesday we were eating dinner at IHOP and looking at lamps for the nursery at Lowe’s, and then the next day we had a baby. She was here. No more planning. I didn’t have my hospital bag packed. I didn’t have my birth plan written out. I didn’t have a glider or breast pump. I didn’t have nursing bras or a diaper bag. Our house was a mess. I wasn’t yet organized. The nursery wasn’t complete. The dirty dishes were taking over the kitchen. We also had a maternity photo shoot planned for Sunday, July 31. I had been telling people for the last nine months that I was due in “mid August” and it wasn’t even August yet. Then, I became a mom.

I woke in the middle of the night with an intense urge to pee. This wasn’t an unusual occurrence. At 37 weeks pregnant I was regularly getting up in the night to use the bathroom – sometimes even twice in one night. Still, this sensation felt different – like, “wow, I must get to the bathroom now.” As I sat up and started to exit the bed, I ran my hand across the mattress to make sure that I hadn’t leaked or wet the bed.

When I walked toward the bedroom door, I felt a wetness in my panties. As I walked down the hall, I felt a trickle down my leg. Right before going to bed that night, I was reading about incontinence in What to Expect When Expecting. I even told Tim that a mutual friend of ours had recently confided in me her incontinence issues after giving birth. So, as I’m walking (very quickly at this point) down the hall, I’m thinking that I’m peeing my pants. Still half asleep, it was instinct to run to the toilet as quickly as possible. As I got to the doorway of the bathroom, I started to “leak” more and although I thought, “I should tighten my kegel muscles and try to stop it,” I was already to the toilet. There was a gush, but it all happened so fast that I wasn’t sure if it was my water breaking or just my bladder bursting with relief now that there was release. My panties were completely soaked.

I had heard that amniotic fluid smelled distinctive – sweet, not like the ammonia of urine. I smelled my panties, but to tell you the truth, I couldn’t tell what it was. At that point I thought, well, I won’t flush the toilet in case I need to come back and reference this liquid. I’ll just wait and see if I start to have contractions. I knew that few women actually have their water break before contractions – in our birthing classes they told us this was more of a TV sit-com phenomenon than true life. But, when talking about it with my mom in the weeks prior, she said it happened that way for her both times.

So, I went back to the bedroom, changed my underwear and crawled back into bed. I don’t even think Tim noticed I had gotten up. Then, almost immediately, I felt mild cramping in my lower abdomen, similar to period cramps. I knew I should relax, that I should try to go back to sleep because I could have a long day of laboring ahead of me. But of course, my mind was racing.

What? A July baby? What is today? July 28? Is July 28 even a Leo?

Our photo shoot! We were supposed to have maternity photos taken on Sunday.

And work! Oh, there’s still so much to do. Our temp was supposed to come in and train today. And all those invoices on my desk – how will they know how to process them? Who will set up the new budget spreadsheets?

I didn’t want to wake Tim. I wasn’t sure what was going on and there was no reason for us both to be awake and anxious. After about half an hour of lying in bed, I decided to grab my netbook laptop and come downstairs. Plus, I had to pee again already.

I opened my laptop and Googled “water breaking vs. peeing.”  There were a few message boards that came up, but nothing that answered my question to my satisfaction. I then downloaded a contraction counter to my smartphone.

I wasn’t really sure if I was having full-fledged contractions at this point, and they definitely weren’t regular. I figured I’d go back upstairs and try to sleep again.

I may have dosed off briefly, but I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t even have my birth plan written out. After attending our Mindful Birthing class and doing lots of reading, I knew birth plans rarely went as planned. One of the midwives told me “they’re more like goals.” Still, I wanted to have something in writing that I could hand the nurse when we got to the hospital. I wanted something that said we wanted a low-intervention birth, that I intended to at least try for a natural, non-medicated birth with a midwife in the hospital’s birthing suite. I didn’t want to be tethered to a fetal heart monitor if it wasn’t medically necessary; I wanted to be able to walk around. I wanted in writing that I wanted my husband to cut the umbilical cord and that I wanted to hold my baby and try to initiate breast feeding before she was taken out of room – that I wanted her with me skin-on-skin as long as possible.

At one point (it all seems like the middle of the night to me), I got back up and went downstairs to type this up. I basically summarized everything in the above short paragraph, but on that night, while beginning labor, I just couldn’t concentrate enough to write it all out. Plus, the contractions were getting more and more painful. I realized that if the contractions were too painful to continue typing, it was probably time to wake up Tim.

By this time it was about 5:15am, around three hours after my water broke. I told Tim I thought I was in the early stages of labor, that I thought my water broke. He wasn’t as surprised as I thought he might be. He was just very matter-of-fact about it “alright.” We laid in bed together for a bit, but my contractions were getting more and more painful and it wasn’t comfortable for me to lie down anymore.

Tim got up and started looking for someone to cover his shifts that day. He took the dog out for a walk. That period is now a haze for me. I remember throwing a bunch of stuff in my backpack. I didn’t know how long I would be laboring at the hospital, so I packed things for both my time laboring and my hospital stay afterwards – my camera, my laptop, the yoga ball, a book to read, an outfit to change into, my journal, some snacks.

I was trying to following the 4-1-1 rule we learned in our birthing class: don’t go to the hospital until your contractions are four minutes apart. one minute long, for one hour. My contractions weren’t a minute long, but they were closer than four minutes. What did that mean? I was so confused. I remember going down to the basement bathroom and laboring on the toilet. I felt better there, and I didn’t feel anxious about leaking fluids when I was sitting on the toilet. I bounced on the yoga ball, I leaned against the banister and Tim pushed my hips together (a technique we had learned in class). I tried to envision each contraction as a wave coming in and out (I had read that somewhere), but I don’t think I was very successful. I was loud. I moaned with each contraction and didn’t care that it was fairly early in the morning and that we lived in a rowhouse with neighbors close on both sides. I figured they could hear me and hoped that they didn’t call the police for some kind of domestic disturbance.

I remember Matt Lauer being in the background as I know the TODAY show was on the TV. By 8:00am I had Tim call my midwife practice. They weren’t open yet, but there was an emergency line to call and leave a message. A few minutes later the on-duty midwife at the hospital called us back and Tim answered. I didn’t feel much like talking to her, but she wanted to speak to me. I told her I thought my water broke around 2:15am and since my water broke, she told me to come on in.

Tim went and pulled the car up in front of the house. I was not looking forward to that car ride. At this point, I was in a severe amount of pain, and I was wailing pretty loudly. I leaned the chair back in the passenger’s seat and braced my feet in front of me. The ride to the hospital didn’t have to be a long one – we didn’t live far from the hospital. However, it was morning rush hour. Then, Tim took a left when he should have gone straight.

“Where are you going?” I asked. “You should just go down Passyunk.”

He wasn’t thinking clearly, and we hadn’t previously discussed the most direct route to the hospital. We also hadn’t planned out the “drop off.”  When we got to the hospital, he went straight to the Emergency Room drop-off when he should have turned and let me off at the main entrance. I didn’t want to wait for him to go around the block again, so I just had him pull over so I could get out and walk around the corner of the building. He went to park in the garage and said he’d meet me inside with all our stuff.

Having been to the hospital several times for classes and appointments, I knew there was often a line to get up to the reception desk where you had to sign in and get a pass to go inside. I walked directly to the font of the line and said, “I’m in labor and I need to go upstairs.”

The expression on my face must have looked very serious, because she just waved me on. “Third floor,” she said. I walked to the elevator and felt another contraction coming on. I was relieved there was no one else in the elevator. Then, right before the doors were about to close, a female doctor got into the elevator with me. I tried not to be too dramatic about my pain and purposefully didn’t “let loose” like I’d been doing at home and in the car. She immediately came over to see if I was okay. I could tell she was worried. I knew where I was going (I’d been on the hospital tour), and although she tried to get me to go the wrong way on the floor, I started walking toward the registration desk. “Okay, you clearly know more than I do,” she said. “Good luck.”

When I got to the desk, they were expecting me. I’ve heard stories about women having to wait in the waiting room or wait in the triage room for a long time. I was taken into the triage room, right as Tim arrived. They wanted me to pee in a cup and I tried, but I just couldn’t do it. The pain was all-encompasing.

I remember wearing a gown and laying in a hospital bed at one point. They checked me and said I was 5 cm and 100% effaced. “I guess it’s a good thing we had you come in,” the midwife told me.  They asked if I wanted to deliver in the birthing suite. “That was the plan. I’d like to try if I can.”  (If you have an epidural, our hospital doesn’t let you stay in the birthing suite, you have to be monitored in a standard hospital room).

A few contractions later, they checked me again. 7cm. Someone explained that most women increase a centimeter an hour, not a centimeter every 15 minutes. (Had it really been a half an hour?) Things were moving quickly.

Although I was told the birthing suite wasn’t available, the next thing I knew I was being wheeled up the elevator and into the birthing suite.

All modesty went out the window. I’ve had other soon-to-be-mothers ask me what to wear while laboring. Well, I guess you could wear a nice tank top or some other “laboring outfit,” but once in the birthing suite, I birthed completely naked. I think part of the reason was because when I first got into the room they asked me if I wanted to get into the bathtub. I had heard from friends that this relieved some pain, so I was really looking forward to getting into the water.

“If you feel like you need to push, let me know,” the midwife said. “We can’t let you have the baby in the water and if we do, I’ll get in a lot of trouble.” She said with a laugh.

I only lasted in the tub for a couple of contractions – sitting on my knees and leaning forward over the edge of the tub.

I remember the midwife trying to get me to trill my lips while I was mid-contraction, a way to relax and breathe. I couldn’t do it, I just couldn’t get my lips to work. After trying a few times I remember saying, “that one’s not working – try something else.”

Next, I moved into the shower. Standing, with the water flowing over my back and leaning with both arms on Tim’s forearms, I felt better than I did in the tub. But we weren’t in there long either. The next thing I know, we were back in the main birthing suite pushing. I started out in the bed on all fours, many pillows stacked up underneath me for support. The nurse left to get me some ice and a drink of what I think was seltzer and cranberry juice. Tim was next to me the whole time, but the midwife was the one in command.

We moved to a birthing chair – a weird wooden chair with no middle. I pushed through a few contractions there as well. The midwife asked me if we had a named picked out. “Adelaide” Tim and I both said. “Adelaide.”

I believe we then moved back to the bed where I pushed on all fours again. I remember liking the bed better than the chair because at this point I was getting really tired and I could rest all of my body weight on the mattress. I can picture Tim there to my left with the drink and the ice saying supportive things.

“I can’t do this. I can’t do this,” I repeated. “Yes you can,” they all told me. “You ARE doing this.”

“I don’t feel good,” I said, not knowing what else to say. The swearing I belted when I was laboring at home had subsided in the company of strangers.

“In what way don’t you feel good?” my midwife wanted to know.

I could tell she was concerned that there might be something more than just the pains of a natural childbirth. “I’m just tired,” I said. “I just want to meet her.”

Although I’d heard it over and over that delivering laying on your back is counter-intuitive to how our bodies are built to birth babies, I found myself on my back. I guess I was technically sitting more than laying on my back. I was propped up by so many pillows that I was in an upright position. An intern held my left leg up near my chest. Tim held my right leg. I remember having a hard time keeping that left leg up while pushing through the contractions. They really had to hold my legs tightly to help give me some leverage.

I remember the midwife and nurse talking about all the hair they were seeing. “Oh she has a lot of hair. There’s so much hair.” They asked me to reach down and feel the top of her head. Yeah, it was pretty cool I guess, but at the moment, I wasn’t having it. I didn’t care about her hair and I wanted them to talk about something else.

I remember feeling as if the pushing took a really long time. However, in retrospect, Tim said it was only about 45 minutes or so. I just kept envisioning the moment I would meet her.  “I just want to meet her. I just want to meet her,” I repeated to myself.

Then, on the final push Tim said, “Oh wow. Oh Wow. Oh WOW” – each time a little louder as he saw her head, then shoulders, then whole body emerge.

The nurse immediately placed her on my chest. Things at this point were a bit of a blur. We arrived at the hospital around 9am and just after noon, she was born. I believe my first words were, “It is a girl isn’t it?” still paranoid that the ultrasound had been wrong. The nurse lifted her back up to double check. “Yes, it’s a girl.”

She was beautiful and there was such a swell of emotion and relief.

Tim wanted to cut the umbilical cord and he did, but I wasn’t really “present” for that moment. I think for our next child, I’d like to delay the cutting and then when we’re ready, I want to make sure that I’m paying attention and present in the moment – the one down side of not having a doula or a written birth plan.

I held Adelaide for a bit and she found my breast. After a while (my memory loses track of time here), they took her to be weighed, checked her vitals and footprinted her. Tim took photos as I rested in bed across the room. Eventually they took her to get cleaned up and rolled in some lunch for me.

I was disappointed there was no photo shoot in the park, and I didn’t get the chance to train my temp at work. I felt guilty for leaving several things up in the air when I went on an earlier-than-expected maternity leave. I imagine I would have felt differently had I been scheduled to be induced and knew what day I would give birth, or if I had reached my due date and was more prepared that she could come any day. In many ways, I know I was lucky to have avoided the anxiety of being overdue. And the hospital staff made sure to tell me that most women would’ve been envious of my quick labor.

When we got home from the hospital, I missed being pregnant (at least parts of it), and I felt as if I didn’t get to properly say good-bye to that stage in the cycle. But, I had a new job. I was a mom, and I didn’t have time to think twice about it. I was doing it and trying to digest it all. In the days ahead, I tried to survive the sleepless nights, to sleep when she slept and to enjoy her bright eyes, many facial expressions and calming coos.

birth story | http://nextlifechapter.com

Born at 12:03pm, 7 lbs, 7 oz

birth story | http://nextlifechapter.com

The birthing suite at Pennsylvania Hospital

birth story | http://nextlifechapter.com

birth story | http://nextlifechapter.com

birth story | http://nextlifechapter.com

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We bought Adelaide a little potty a few weeks ago. She was super interested in it at first and wanted to sit on it all the time (clothes on). When we came back from our trip to Illinois, Tim and I decided to see if she wanted to start sitting on it without a diaper and had her sit on it when we went to the bathroom.

She’s been talking a lot more about the potty and accurately reports when she has gone poop, or “poot” as she says, but we had low expectations and didn’t really know what we were doing. (I have a book on potty training, but I haven’t had time to read it yet!) Anyway, the second day we had her sit on the potty, she actually peed in it. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize this at first and didn’t see the pee in the potty until several hours later. No proper praise given for a job well done. Later that evening I put her back on the potty. She stood up and walked into the hall where she peed on the hardwood floor. I immediately called Tim over to help clean it up and we told her that we don’t pee on the floor, we pee in the potty.

That was a couple of weeks ago. Ever since that incident, Adelaide’s interest in the potty and sitting on it (clothed or not) has waned. When we mention sitting on the potty she just says, “no potty floor.” I think we’ve traumatized her.

One thing I did read is that parents need to be consistent in the terminology we use. I admit I find this a challenge. I tend to call both the toilet and urine “potty” although I’m trying to refer to the toilet as the “potty” and urination as “pee.” One time she called the pee “water” and I tried to explain that’s the pee.

The next day she referred to pee as “poop water” — hilarious!

Our adventures in potty training have barely begun, but I’m already that mom talking about it on the Internet.

We got this 3-in-1 duck potty on clearance at Target for $5.99. It's supposed to play music when it senses liquid in the basin. We thought that would be annoying, so we never got batteries for it. Now I'm rethinking it since I didn't even know she actually peed in it. The music is supposed to be a reward for the kiddo, but it would also be an indicator for me. Or, I could just check better from now on.

We got this 3-in-1 duck potty on clearance at Target for $5.99. It’s supposed to play music when it senses liquid in the basin. We thought that would be annoying, so we never got batteries for it. Now I’m rethinking it since I didn’t even know she actually peed in it. The music is supposed to be a reward for the kiddo, but it would also be an indicator for me. Or, I could just make it a point to actually check.

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First snow

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These were taken last month, on January 26. It was a Saturday morning and although we only had an inch or two of powder, we got Adelaide bundled up and out to experience snow for the first time. We carried her down a few blocks to the “lawn” at the local public high school. We live in South Philly. No one has yards and the closest park is a little further than we wanted to walk. Knowing last winter was so mild, we decided not to shell out the money for snow shoes and a waterproof snowsuit this winter. Looking at these photos though, she looks pretty goofy. A friend of mine in the neighborhood took plastic bags, wrapped them around her kid’s feet and tied them with twine. I saw photos she posted on Facebook — I guess we weren’t the only ones making a fashion statement.

When we first put Adelaide down in the snow she just stood still and didn’t even want to move in it. She didn’t want to walk unless Tim or I were holding her hand. When she fell, she wasn’t very happy about it. I think it was a texture thing. She seemed to have a good time overall, and we didn’t stay out for long. Most of the snow had melted by the afternoon, so I’m glad we took the time to go out and experience it.

To the disappointment of my dog and my husband, it’s really the only snow we’ve had this winter. I would have liked a little more of the white stuff myself, but I don’t mind the more mild temperatures we’ve had the last two months. It’s been cold, but we haven’t had many days where it’s been, as Tim says, “stupid cold.” It’s not yet March so technically there’s still time for more snow. I’m not holding my breath. Still, I decided to take the opposite approach for next year. Last night I took advantage of an end-of-season sale and went ahead and bought snow boots for Adelaide to wear next winter.

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It may be a day late, but it’s Day 4 of my five-day “Philly Fall in Review” series. (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3). Since the last post was so copy heavy, Day 4 will be a photo essay of Adelaide’s first trip to the zoo.

Tim and I talked about taking Adelaide to the Philadelphia Zoo all summer. However, we wanted to wait until after her first birthday so she would appreciate it a little more. (We also wanted to wait until after the hot days of summer.) So, we had a beautiful Sunday in October and decided to spend the afternoon visiting the animals. Although we took our stroller, Adelaide just wanted to walk everywhere herself. The big animals were her favorites, but I think she enjoyed watching the other kids almost as much as watching the animals.

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December is just five days away. Since I have several autumn-related posts that are bordering “too late,” I decided to spend the next five days recapping our October and November. To begin the five-day series, Adelaide’s first haircut.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know if I’ve met anyone Adelaide’s age with as much hair as she has. I’m sure they’re out there, but I haven’t met them. She’s always had a lot of hair, but it wasn’t until the end of the summer that I had to “do” her hair every day. Her hair was so long that she wouldn’t be able to see if I didn’t put the front section back in a little ponytail or piggie tails on top. She was like a sheep dog. So, when I made my hair appointment for October 10, my stylist said to bring Adelaide for the beginning of the appointment.  She sat on my lap for a few minutes to get comfortable with her surroundings. Then, Katie sprayed her hair with water and gave her some wispy bangs. I thought that with bangs, Adelaide would at least be able to wear her hair down sometimes. She wouldn’t need to sit still for Mom to put her hair back every morning.

Thanksgiving Day I put Adelaide’s hair in true piggy tails for the first time. Then on Saturday, she wore her first ponytail. Her hair is so fine and it’s not really long enough for a ponytail, but it sure is cute. Later in this week’s “Philly Fall in Review,” I’ll post some pictures of her latest hairstyles.

And yes, I asked my stylist to save some of the cut locks to include in Adelaide’s baby book. I remember looking at my baby book and the clipping from my first haircut. My hair was a golden honey (similar to the less-than-natural color I’m sporting right now). I imagine Adelaide one day flipping through the pages of her baby book and laughing at these photos of her first haircut.

The Before.

Being brave.

Multi-tasking.

Almost done.

The After (and so excited about it).

 

 

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In my previous post, I mentioned the article 10 Great Ways to Be An Unhappy Mom.  Number two on the list is “Compare yourself to other mothers.”  It’s hard not to compare myself to all the mommy bloggers I see online.  So, I’m trying to keep this in mind when I consider Adelaide turns 15 months old today, and I have yet to publish my post for her first birthday. To my credit, I started the post just days after Adelaide’s birthday on July 28, but it took a while to get all the photos together and it’s been sitting in my “draft” box ever since.

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I started brainstorming ideas for Adelaide’s first birthday several months before the event. I knew I wanted to have a party — more for us than for her — but I also knew that with a late-July birthday, it was likely to be hot and humid. My parents were planning to visit Philly and help us celebrate the day, but we don’t have a lot of space at our place. We don’t have central air either. If we wanted to invite a size-able group of people for a party, our house was out. An outdoor party at a park was an option, but not very appealing in the heat and with the possibility of rain.

I asked around and searched online for an inexpensive room we could rent for a few hours. I didn’t have much luck. Places were either more than I wanted to pay or couldn’t have us until “after hours”–not appropriate timing for a one-year-old whose bedtime is 7:30pm. Fortunately, my friend lives in a condo building that has a fantastic community room on the second floor. It was exactly what I needed. A large air-conditioned space easily accessible to public transportation, and it was only $50 for 5 hours. I’m not sure the space is usually open to the public, but since my friend booked the room, it wasn’t a problem at all.

Several weeks later on Facebook I stumbled upon a photo a friend from college posted. It was from a formal party, but he and his wife were hamming it up and holding moustaches on a stick. “I could make those,” I thought to myself as I immediately started Googling “moustache on a stick tutorial” and “moustache party.” Soon, I had a new board on Pinterest dedicated to all the cute party ideas I was finding.  Apparently, moustache’s are really in right now.

Tim was on board with the party theme, and as the designer in the family, he volunteered to create our party invitation.


I used this moustache-on-a-stick tutorial from the blog Simply Modern Mom, and I found this fun recipe for a moustache cake on the blog Paisley Jade. It’s a circle cake that’s cut in half with a swirl, like a yin and yang symbol. Then, one side is flipped upside down to create a somewhat even moustache shape. I iced it in chocolate frosting. Also featured on this table were the party favors, Adelaide’s special individualized cake and the moustache cookies my friend Kathy made for the event.

 

Along with the moustache-on-a-sticks I made, I bought several packs of stick-on moustaches. I thought they would be easier for the kids, but the adults liked them, too.

Adelaide’s friend Genevieve came in the “facial hair spirit” by wearing the beard her mom crocheted for her. Her orange beard matched her dad.

 

 I also bought a couple of fancy bendable moustache’s like these especially for Tim and me. I thought they looked quite natural.

I’ve been taking monthly photos of Adelaide so I wanted to print out one from each month and display them at the party. This banner was perhaps my most favorite party decoration.

When it came time for Adelaide’s cake, she wasn’t so sure about it at first. But once we cut into it for her, she got the hang of it. I love the mischievousness in her eyes of this first photo.

At the end of the party, Adelaide and I opened presents together. She got many generous gifts from friends and family, but as is true for most kids her age, she was more interested in the paper, bows, boxes and ribbons. Happy 1st Birthday, baby girl. We are so happy to celebrate you, and your first year of life in this world. Whether they could be here to celebrate with you in person or not, always know there are so many who love you.

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