Some firsts courtesy of Mexico and various airports...

No international trip would be complete without a list of firsts completed along the way...

... Plane ride (slept take off and landing on the way there, not so much on the way home, but there were two short naps in each of the first two flights midway to landing. The last flight included one brief terrible moment when Caroline screamed so loudly in the first row behind first class that the stew - "Neilese" for flight attendent - came over and practically shoved the baby bag in our face with that do whatever you have to immediately look and tone in her voice and she somehow by the grace of all that is holy on earth and air fell magically asleep for the entire flight - amen)
... International travel and trip through customs
... Cab ride sans car seat (Our flights were all overbooked and there never would have been a seat necessitating a gate check of the seat. The Mexican cabs look ill equipped to handle it - so we are happy to accept any bad parenting awards people might hand out on account of the carseatless 5 minute ride which was so easy without the seat, painless, and remarkably injury free)
... hotel stay (they provided a pack n play in each room! and while we are talking about the room, special shout out to Kiks and Steve for inquiring at the desk about getting our rooms closer together - we ended up higher up and ocean view - you rock our vacationing worlds!)
... Dip in the Pacific ocean (toes only I think?)
... swim in an outdoor pool
... nap on a lounge chair
... new foods (some we're proud of an some we're not, the kid had to eat and there was only so much Veggie Booty, raisins, and cheerios a girl could eat): mexican whole milk (is it different than ours?), Yoplait smoothies, french fries, chicken tenders, tortilla chips, plain tortillas, hash browns, mango, watermelon, guacamole, quesadilla, lots of toast with cheese (didn't know how to make grilled cheese), her first McDonald's cheeseburger at Dallas/Ft. Worth, and many many tastes of just about everything on our plates which has totally backfired and made her a squirming wreck at meals pointing and whining for tastes from our plates even when it is exactly the SAME
... shakes head no
... bounces and sort of dances when you nod your head up and down
... says in her own language "all done" and "thank you"
... stamp on her shiny new passport
... listened to ipod, but lost interest quickly
... furrows brow

Caroline is still cruising around and while not quite walking will willingly put her feet down and walk with assistance, which prior to this trip hardly ever happened at all.

The McFamily is just coming out from under the most massive pile of laundry I have ever seen.

Remarkably Caroline has been adjusting really well to life at home. She slept until just after 7 this morning and went down relatively easy last night around 8. Steve is up in MA this afternoon for a "team meeting" (bowling at Kings) so us girls are on our own tonight and will be enjoying grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for our easy dinner. I just cannot force myself to cook anything interesting this week. I considered it a great success that she has milk, fruits and veggies for school. Her newest love - canned green beans. She hated them fresh and frozen, but toss in that slightly tinny taste and wham, best food ever. There are things I have learned NOT to question and this dear readers is one of them. Girl wants canned beans, canned beans she shall have!

What is Caroline Eating Today?

Whole Grain Waffle
Green Beans
Roasted chicken
Veggie Booty

And there was a wedding and sun and vallarta salads

Congratulations Choyfroccas!!!

We're HOME - barely. The trip was amazing and to get it out of the way now, so I can focus on all the great highlights and not the one dark cloud, our trip home left a bit to be desired. American canceled our flight due to mechanical issues with the plane itself. While I am glad that something terrible may have been averted by keeping our plane on Mexican soil, we very much wanted to find ourselves back on American soil yesterday. Steve sweet talked Alonso into routing us through Mexico City and while it made for a very long day that began before 8AM, we made it home to CT last night not long before midnight with all our luggage and sleeping baby intact. Caroline was exhausted, but she did amazingly well for a baby her age. A girl can only sit on a lap for so long.

Now that the details of yesterday are taken care of, I can brag about all the fun and sun we enjoyed perhaps a bit too much of in Mexico. Would it border on really REALLY mean of me if I tell that hearing of the massive snowstorm up in the Northeast made us enjoy our trip just a little bit more? It would? Would this photo make you hate me a bit less?

It would? =)

It was hot in the sun and the rays were really strong. Caroline managed to get just a bit burned under her eye where she likely rubbed the sunblock off and her parents both got pink noses and shoulders despite wearing SPF 45. We ate by the pool nearly everyday on wooden trays brought right to our side by Angel and Manual and enjoyed fresh salads and quesadillas served in bamboo steamers. Many a Pacifico and Corona were enjoyed with a few boat drinks tossed in for good measure. Does life get any better than sitting by the Pacific ocean on a lounge chair under an umbrella? It does when you also have a sleeping baby nestled next to you! Caroline rocked the beach/pool naps and I actually was able to read a good amount of my book - amazing. The weather was perfect; warm, hot in the sun at times, with just enough wind to cool you off. Mornings and evenings were a bit chillier, but that made for nice little walks to the nearby marina for breakfast or dinner. So all told, I think the McFamily enjoyed PV!

The wedding - the wedding was stunning! They kicked it off with a delicious meal at El Dorado in Old Town right on the beach for the rehearsal dinner complete with Mexican Coffee which was so SO good. Adrienne was perfection from her dress to her hair to her flip flopped foot which was all so unique and perfectly her. The Choyfroccas got hitched on a jetty right on the ocean at sunset. Mariachi played the grand exit and thoroughly entertained for the cocktail hour. I LOVED the pear margaritas with salt and chili seasoned rims! The wedding dinner was the most amazing mexican buffet ever and we enjoyed it by the sea on tables placed over grass mats surrounding a dance floor placed right over the sand. They chose a great first dance song, "wouldn't it be nice" by the Beach Boys and just as it was beginning to get to the end the lights dimmed and whoosh - there was an amazing firework display! It was like out of a movie, not just this dance, but the whole night. We feel so lucky to have been there and are so grateful not just to the special couple for the invitation, but also to Kiki and Papa who were so giving of their time and themselves to travel so SO far to watch Caroline. Thank you to them especially for making it possible for us to attend not just a simply amazing event, but an event that was special to us for who it was celebrating - two of our most favorite people.

...Two of our most favorite people who probably hadn't counted on starting their honeymoon with us on a flight with them to Mexico City, but two people who are certainly more than well-matched and destined for a lifetime of happiness together.


More photos are forthcoming! If you ever have the chance to go - Puerto Vallarta is worth the trip and was surprisingly family friendly!!

gross but true

I hesitate to share my harrowing President's Day with the world, but it is my blog so N'yah.

I woke up at about 4am Sunday morning with that terrible woesome overwhelming oh my god I am gonna ralph feeling. It ebbed and flowed until about 7 when I found myelf a shaking, sobbing, wretching wreck. The one overwhelming statement that kept echoing in my head, "Why is this happening NOW??" Steve had an important meeting and performance appraisals to complete and let's not forget that he is also going on vacation for a week, so staying home with me to care for Caroline was simply not an option. I still don't know how we got through. At one point I literally crawled up the stairs with her in my arms to her crib, where she cried and I cried while spending more time with the gods of pukedom. She did sleep for an hour on my chest downstairs, getting up with her was not exactly an option, and then in the afternoon she was down for two blessed hours in her crib while I curled up in the fetal position on the couch. Caroline was an absolute trouper considering that her playmate spent most of the day wrapped in a blanket shaking from chills and changed her diaper exactly twice. Meal time was a challenge for me, but we battled through and Steve made sure that she got extra food at dinner time to make up for my inability to smell kiwi fruit or yogurt.

I was unable to complete any of the last minute things I wanted to do before we jet off to Mexico, but Steve came through and finished the packing, put the bags in the car, and cleaned the house up. I owe him exactly 2 billion dollars for this because it allowed me to go to bed before 8:30 and seriously I don't know what I would have done had he not rearranged the carryons and helped me seperate liquids into the required quart size ziploc bags.

I feel a bit better today, that is to say I am keeping things that I ingest where they belong, and I am at work trying to tie up my loose ends. I am hoping to steal away later this afternoon for one quick catnap before I pick her up and head north. We'll see how that goes.

Otherwise, we are ready! I am just wishing I could be a little more excited about the trip given what the last 24 hours have been like. I'll get there.

Seriously though, what do I have to complain about, this is where I am going to be for the next week! An onboard celebratory bloody mary may not be in my future, but that pool and beach look pretty comforting don't they?

Stay tuned for the PV recap including the harrowing details of our first flight and what is sure to be an overwhelming number of photos!

All our bags are packed, we're ready to go...

Oh the humanity! Imagine our utter shock when our old standby method of travel involving one checked bag and two carry ons fell apart before our very eyes on Saturday night. Everytime I thought we had the packing mastered and were making headway I would remember another bag somewhere that needed to make its way somehow into our luggage.

Somewhere between how many diapers should we bring and can we safely pack this Motts 50 50 juice (aka 10:30 and 11:00pm) we came to the sad and also DUH moment that all new parents must come to when planning and packing for a week long trip to a foreign land... the old methods just ain't gonna cut it no mo'!

We thankfully were able to beg borrow and steal another large to be checked bag from my parents, who not only got the bag to us, but also met us for lunch at a delish restaurant near Hartford. GOD BLESS THEM! I am happy to report that the two bag solution worked like a charm and now I am just trying to negotiate the carry on back pack with all the diversions, snacks, and necessities. The last load of laundry of things to come is currently drying and we will be officially DONE packing.

With all this prep you would think we are leaving Monday or even Tuesday for that matter, but alas no - our flight takes off first thing Wednesday morning. Don't think it will be a cake walk between now and then, oh no, we must first get through packing the car and also Tuesday. Tuesday the big bosses are coming to Steve's office and as such he will be held captive there for the entire day with no hope whatsoever of getting an early release, in fact he might need to be there longer than usual. So we devised a plan where I will drop him off near a major highway to car pool with a coworker, then go home myself to complete the usual drop off/work routine, THEN pick up Caroline and immediately proceed to Steve's office where we will continue onward to my parents' house to be oh so much closer to our airline departure. THANK GOODNESS! I am tense just thinking about all this, but having the packing almost behind us has made me feel so much better about it all.

The only thing left to battle over is the carry on. The clothes have been debated and scaled down as far as they can go, but the diversions... how much is too much and how much is too little. I have scrounged every novel dollar item I can find, I have puffy stickers, crayons, books, snacks, a binky... How do I draw the line and yet not find myself in the air an hour in with NOT ONE NEW thing to entice her to stay seated and "da" quietly to herself?

And I forgot one minor detail. It was a fussy weekend at times and we were left questioning as usual - is this teething, the fever we heard about with the MMR, or could it be an ear infection? We decided to bite the bullet, pay the darn copay and just be safe and LORD - she has the beginnings of an ear infection - red in one ear, fluid in the other. So we started antibiotics, which we will need to bring with us and I am so relieved that we nipped that in the bud, but the ears. Man. I hope she can manage the take offs and descents.

I hope for at least one more post pre Mexico and then you'll have to wait silently and patiently for the photos and recap of our first major adventure!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Update on poor Granda’s wing:

They removed the hard brace earlier this week and after closer examination determined that he did NOT break anything afterall! He is allowed to wear real shirts and no longer must keep his arm “pledge allegiance” style. We are still worried about all the pain he had and the terrible swelling, but no sign of a break is a very good thing. In case you were wondering about his beloved chariot, his car is also on the mend, though the jury is out on if it will be completed to his high standards.

Caroline enjoyed her day with Mommy at work yesterday. I attempted to leave to drop her mid-morning, but was met with Noah’s Ark style flooding and many a senior warning me against travel. {were they unintentionally exaggerating the conditions as many seniors who are wary of driving in inclement weather have been known to do? Perhaps. I could see the deep puddles in the parking lot swirling and I could also see the emergency trucks diverting cars away from the underpass which is very prone to flooding, so I took their warnings to heart} I kept her for the rest of the day me and she was so well behaved. The seniors were delighted to have Caroline and she entertained them at lunch by crawling across the entire length of the dining room at lightening speed. I was happy because this ended up being quite an exhausting activity and she promptly fell asleep for a TWO-hour nap. Mostly I was startled to see how much she has grown since she was last here. She was into everything and amused herself by pulling things off the first three shelves of my bookcase, opening and closing the desk drawers, and climbing in and out of her car seat. We left just before 4pm when she slipped and bumped her head on my heating vent. Nice.

I also received my first daycare craft this morning. Sara worked with Caroline earlier this week and put together a Valentine for Steve and I with her feet prints and handprints inside a heart. It was so sweet of Sara and I noted that there were no other handprint Valentines in any of the other cubbies. She did this JUST for us. I also discovered a silly note Sara and Michelle wrote about missing Caroline yesterday and our impending trip to Mexico. I feel like we have established a strong relationship with the girls and while I try to be careful in maintaining the professional distance that I should, I know that ultimately Caroline benefits from us having a more personal and open connection to her caregivers. Lately at pick up and drop off I have spent more time asking them questions, how Caroline’s day was, and they in return have become even more effective communicators. Previously they would have shared that she ate her entire lunch, but now I get more detailed reports. “She ate most of it by 1pm, she loved the sweet potatoes, was not a big fan of the chicken. She could use another cup for water.” The line seems to be a bit blurred between professional and personal, but I think that for now that is ok. Caroline will be with them in this room until she turns three, so the better relationship I have with them now the better for Caroline in the long run.

On my day off when I picked her up early I stayed and chatted with Sara while she finished feeding Hannah some yogurt because there was a little boy, just a month younger than Caroline, who was absolutely inconsolable. I gathered up Caroline’s cups and blankets and touched his hand to calm him and he literally grabbed my wrist with both hands and pulled it close. Sara informed me that he cries from the moment he gets dropped off until the moment he is picked up and the only ones who can soothe him are other parents (how does he know we are parents?!) or his own mom. He seems to lack the ability to self-soothe and it was incredibly difficult (physically and emotionally!) to remove myself from his super grip to exit with Caroline. His name is Michael and he only comes in a couple times a week for a few hours, but those hours are very stressful for him. Poor little guy.

I haven’t shared anything lately about sleeping or weaning. I was ultra concerned that we would be in nighttime hell because Caroline seemed so dependent on her bedtime nursing sessions. This is SO not the case, nursing moms rejoice! Friday night she was not interested at all and went to sleep with a bit of effort, but not effort of the pull your hair out from utter frustration variety. Since then she has been heading to bed after bath, tooth brushing, and books. Some nights we can tell that her teeth are bothering her and she gets a dose of Motrin to ease her into slumber, but generally she reads her books, cuddles with mommy, and gets herself to sleep in her crib all by herself. I thought I would really miss those bedtime sessions that ended with milky sighs of contentment and that “so full” rosy glow in her cheeks. I do in some ways, but mostly I am in love with the way she leans on my chest, tucks her thumb into her mouth, and somehow finds my warmth and a gentle back rub to be just as soothing as a bedtime snack. Mornings are going really well too. Steve still gets up with her and now he gets her dressed for the day while I finish getting ready. Then all three of us cuddle up together in bed to watch the first 15 minutes of the Today Show before I bring her down for her breakfast where she devours her milk and whatever I offer her. So we are done and I am ok with it and she is doing really well. I couldn’t be more proud of us that we made it the full year we wanted to and that the transition to whole milk and bedtime has been smoother than smooth.

What’s Caroline Eating Today?

Scrambled egg with cheese
Whole Grain waffle
Chicken Parm from last night (she wasn’t the biggest fan)
Peas and Carrots
Veggie BootyMotts 50 50

rain rain go away and please don't even think about icing over

Seems that just about everything was delayed or canceled this morning. Even Caroline's center had a two hour delay. So I called my boss and explained the delay and warned her that for at least an hour or two we would have to manage Caroline in the office (she couldn't be happier!). Over two hours later she is still here with me, now napping nicely, and we have plans to make a determination when she wakes up because bringing her means going out in the freezing rain, coming back in the freezing rain and doing it all over again at 4. I could go either way on this one. What really concerns me most is the flooding, there is terrible flooding out there today.

How did everyone else fare in this winter storm? It has been a long long time since we had any of the white stuff down here and I am beginning to think that the delay and cancelation gurus are taking on the mindset of oh I don't know Virginia maybe? They absolutely FREAK out when the threat of snow or ice exists. Though we would like to return to our MA roots someday, we do sit pretty for most of the winter with very little accumulations and are often stunned when we take rides north to be driving through a winter wonderland. "Oh yeah, it IS winter, huh. I almost forgot." Living here is like living in stereotypical New England; cute towns, foliage, yankee spirit, but without the misery of endless winter weather.

What's Caroline Eating Today?

Well, if she stays with me, she's eating anything I can manage to get into her mouth, but otherwise the plan is...

Chicken Nuggets
Sweet Potato wedges
Whole Kiwi
Zucchini and Squash (previously hated with the heat of a thousand suns and now miraculously adores)
Raisins (are these ok? they make me really nervous, but I am trying them out for PV!)
Motts Tots 50 50 Apple

Lincoln would be proud

We had a great time this weekend meeting the other "beanie babies" and it was such an experience to meet the women that I have come to confide in after all these years. It was wierd to me that it all seemed so natural and normal and I felt that I was attending a gathering (or even a reunion?) of old friends and not people I had never met before. We were so glad that we were able to attend and Caroline and I are definitely looking forward to the next get together.

Other weekend highlights included...

...a visit with Kathryn and Matt who amen have Steve completely craving brie - thank you Kathryn! They were so sweet to our Caro and she even created a crayola masterpiece for their fridge

... a yummy dinner with Sean and Courtney that included the most delish hummus ever... who knew Deadfield offered such delights? We always enjoy reconnecting with them

... Sunday with the ENTIRE Western MA fam including the puggle pups in an effort to help my mother and offer support to Granda re his wounded wing circa a fender bender last week. He seems to be getting along ok, though he does feel like a "caged beast" not being able to be as independent as he would like. More to follow on his wrist I am sure.

Today is Lincoln's birthday, so I am home all by myself today!

So with the whole day to yourself and an empty house to spend it in what would you do? I have been non-stop since I arrived home from dropping Caroline at school. I cleaned up the last remaining evidence of a birthday party (boxes and table pads) and am now tackling the upstairs including scrubbing the tub and washing all the floors. My goal for the rest of the morning is to finish my clean spree, "pack" Caroline for Mexico, organize myself for Mexico, create a list of things I need to gather, locate, or purchase for the trip, work out on the elliptical perhaps with a bit of DVRd this morning yoga and SHOWER. All this must be completed before 12:30 when I need to leave the house for a doctor's appointment. I have a couple errands to run while I am out and then I will be picking up her highness on the way home. Remember when days off meant staying in pjs and eating cereal in bed? Or when it included ridiculous daytime tv? Now I am fired up at the prospect of a roof to basement house clean, a work out, and a shower oh and let's not forget the packing and the list writing.

Happy Birthday Lincoln! Wouldn't he be proud of my gusto?

12 month check-up

Caroline had her 12 month check-up this morning.

The stats:

29 inches
19 lbs 1oz
head - still quite large at 85%

She did really well and tolerated the Q&A time where I got to sing her praises and ask my questions. We talked about Mexico and she gave me the name of the physician in their practice who specializes in international travel (? who knew?), but she actually received her Hep A vaccine today which may have been recommended had she not already gotten it. Speaking of vaccines, lordy, terrible. She had three; the MMR, varicella, and Hep A, and instead of in her chunky thighs they gave them in her arms. As if that was not terrible enough they had to do a CBC and hemoglobin which meant a toe stick and this sent poor Caro over the edge completely, but who can blame her really. She is still doing the post cry breathing asleep in her car seat. Still.

The only concerns I had were her size and words. I just needed reassurance from the doc that she is healthy etc and at this time since she is such a good and enthusiastic eater she has no concerns about her weight. She pointed out that the period of time when she was quite small back in the summer is probably still affecting her size today and that she is healthy and developmentally on track. The words we will keep at. She should probably have a couple of them at this point, but beyond mama and dada she doesn't, though she communicates with gestures and clearly understands and responds appropriately to commands like throw mommy the ball. We just need to keep at it with the naming of objects and she will get there.

All in all a good visit, save the red-faced tears and all the bugs bunny and daffy duck band aids stuck to her body.

We are off to swim. I hope she is up to it?


I almost forgot what I considered THE most exciting news. Caroline can scribble! I can (read should have been already duh!) offer her a crayon and some paper and let her go to town! There is a non-stop do not pass go plan to race to the store for fat crayons and a scrbble pad directly after swim. I cannot wait to hang her first masterpiece on the fridge.

What's Caroline Eating Today?

sweet potatoes
peas and carrots
grilled cheese with pea puree

Anonomous haponomous - anonymity be gone!

We realized yesterday that in just TWO weeks - that's 14 DAYS - we will be jetting off south of the border for Adrienne and Mike's wedding! Can I just say - YIPEEE!!! Last night I looked though the vacation items we have gathered for Caroline and I must say I am pretty impressed with (ie insanely jealous of!) her resort wardrobe. Thanks be to Keeks my husband will also not only be dressed for this trip but well dressed. There are a couple items I need to fill in for myself and we should be good to go. Now if only I could figure out how to pack it all up. My fingers are already itching to write many list of things to pack, to do, and to organize. Have I mentioned before that I love lists?

I have been thinking most of today about how to discuss our weekend plans, mostly because I am not quite sure how to explain it. We are traveling north on Friday afternoon so that Caroline and I may attend a get together on Saturday. This get together is with some of the women I wrote about before (I tried to find the link to that post, but I can't!) whom I met when Steve and I were getting married way back in 2004. When I say met, I don't mean in person, but rather over a wedding message board. (are you still with me?) Within this group of women is a group of Moms. This is the second time the Moms will meet for a big baby playdate, we missed it the first time.

Steve asked me last night if I was apprehensive about meeting all these women AND their children especially since I have never met them before and I told him that it is really quite the opposite. I am ecstatic to FINALLY meet them! In fact, I wish I could meet ALL the women on this messageboard (not just the moms) because I feel that in many ways they know more about me than most people in the world and vice versa. This could prove to be very embarassing considering that I think I am much more interesting in written word than in person. Over the course of our engagement and marriage there have been several times when I have looked to these women to assist with things happening in my life that for whatever reason I could not look to anyone else for help with. I think there is something emboldening both with the near anonymity of the board and the bond which we have created where I feel like I can share so much more and admit that I have no clue what I am doing half the time (though I just admitted my absolute cluelessness here, go figure). I would like to think that this has not been a one way street and that perhaps I may have been helpful to some of the other posters too at some time. I just hope that this get together doesn't censor my commenting. Sometimes I really REALLY need those ladies. Their kids (including some of the commenters here - Terri, Emily, Jen - Charlie Co Pays Mom) are all just the cutest and I cannot wait to meet them in person and squish their little noses. Geez, I hope there are nametags.

So that is our plan. Up north on Friday, get together Saturday day, potentially seeing Kathryn and Matt (yay!) on Saturday afternoon, and then hopefully stopping off to visit with Uncle Brett on the way back home on Sunday.

I see snow in the forecast. Let's hope that doesn't distrub our carefully laid plans.

Tuesday - "Toofday"

Reports from school indicate that Caroline enjoyed playing with her funfetti cupcake, but not ingesting it. Evidence is mounting that Miss Michelle joined in on the funfetti fun herself, four times.

Turning one is magical in other ways beyond reflection and the mindboggling lightening speed of time. It has also opened up all the tentatively closed doors in the eating department. I know that tooth won't help her chew, but somehow I feel better about giving her more challenging foods now that it has made its arrival and she is past the year mark. Caroline's birthday ushered in a wave of bravery in her parents who last night placed in front of her a bowl of chili and a spoon at dinner time. Can we please discuss the spoon?

I know the importance of her learning how to eat with utensils, but the painful slow speed with which she is able to execute self feeding with a spoon is just a bit more than I can handle most nights. Before the chili there was hearty bread with hummus and sweet potato fry sticks to enjoy, so I know she got SOME nutrition, but the chili, oh it was PAINFUL. Caroline knows just what the spoon is for, this is the good news. She picked it up and moved it right over to the bowl for a dip, but she was unable to retrieve the goods and get them to her mouth more than a few times. I suppose I should be singing her praises, but see, it was CHILI, and chili is both messy and "stainy." All attempts to load the spoon for her resulted in a total freak out and the spoon being flung behind her head, its contents landing either on the floor, in her hair, or stuck to her chair. It was awesome. This is toddler eating, I know I need to get over myself, but why Kerri, why chili????

She picked at her meal, refusing additional bites of bread and even her milk. This should have been our big warning, but oh no. You Moms of course know exactly what that means right? After dinner clean up was a bit more intense than usual and my next day lunch prep took a bit longer too. During this time poor Miss Caroline was unhappy and some Hyland's teething tabs were necessary. Steve suggested Motrin right there on the spot, but I scoffed that she would be ok. You see a second tooth began to make its appearance on Super Bowl Sunday, with much less drama and fanfare than the first, so I thought she might just be a bit uncomfortable. I was SO WRONG. wrong wrong wrong.

I attempted to put her down without nursing last night and that was clearly NOT happening because poor Caroline's second evil tooth was causing major discomfort. There was Motrin, a frozen bagel slice (these work like magic!), some comforting and eventually she fell asleep, just before 9pm, an hour after bedtime began. It was not nearly as bad as it could be, but for the love of jebus, when WHEN will I learn; baby refusing food and requiring tabs needs Motrin before bed.

It isn't all doom and gloom! She slept through beautifully once she got there and I haven't wanted to say it "out loud" but her new wake up time seems to be edging ever closer to 7am. I cannot emphasize enough how blissful that extra 20 minutes of sleep is, how nice it is to take my time in the shower (I even was able to exfoliate my face this morning!), and even dry my hair after said shower all before my baby duty begins. Steve to his credit has been getting her dressed and ready for the day while I accomplish all these tasks.

The biggest news of all is that there was no morning nursing today. We went from operation what will mom wear today (khakis, white button down, and light blue pony sweater) to kitchen with no fussing or grabbiness and she split some waffles and a hard boiled egg with me for breakfast. Note to self and to other moms - the hard boiled egg is a wonderful source of protein, but is not so nice to your highchair/floor/baby's outfit. It was like yolky glue in the corners of my highchair this morning... but yay for skipping the morning session!

What's Caroline Eating Today?

Nutri Grain Waffle
1/2 hard boiled egg
Sweet Potato Sticks
Chicken Nuggets

Dinner will be another spoon attempt with some chicken pot pie along with some yellow squash and zucchini (cooked last night with some olive oil, salt, and pepper), and a bisquit.

First Birthday in Review

It was a wonderful whirlwind birthday that in true McFamily tradition lasted much much longer than just one day.

Caroline's party was all about her favorite delicious snack trap treat ; Cheerios. Think Cheerio confetti, a "Caroline's Cheerio Party" sign made from cheerios glued to Cheerio yellow card stock, streamers made from cheerio shaped circles, an unbelievable Cheerio box cake created by Alicia, a guess how many Cheerio jar (congrats to Uncle Hokie for coming closest to the actual number of 738!), and a cereal bowl and spoon for holding cheerio shaped birthday wishes. Let's just say I embraced the theme and got in a bit over my head, but it all worked out somehow.

We were humbled that so many people drove so far to celebrate with our special girl. Doctor Dan even braved the road himself with his toddler and nearly 4 month old twin boys solo. The house was full and I don't know if there are many other things in life that delight a parent as much as seeing your child interacting with the people you consider the most special in the world.

We were particularly tickled to have Ryan Alexander and escorts in attendance . It had been way too long since our little ones had gotten together and he was an absolute delight. He's the little charmer you can see pictured in the first birthday album. What a sweetie pie!

The aunties and Uncle Hokie decided to make a night of it and stayed over until Sunday morning which gave us all a chance to chat, relearn the rules to an old college card game, and enjoy croissant french toast and cake for breakfast.

Caroline is one.

While we lit her candle on her little cupcake cake it hit me that when singing happy birthday to a child you always just join in when the song starts and this time Steve and I had to actually start it off. I don't know why, but that just struck me as strange as some wierd rite of passage or something. I didn't cry, but hearing the voices of so many saying "dear caroline" almost pushed me over.

On her actual birthday I wanted to take her somewhere fun, but she napped for a good long time in the morning and seemed like she was still pretty wiped from the weekend and a late night watching the game we will just continue to pretend never happened, 'k. Instead of forking over aquarium admission only to have her a. lose it or b. fall asleep, I altered our plans and we went to a local library to play in their "Baby Farm." I wish we had made the short drive down there sooner because she loved it! There were lot of other babies and she was having a great time until an older one grabbed her shoulder and tossed her aside. That was the end of the Baby Farm. Tired Caroline couldn't recover. From what I hear at school she might be on the smaller side, but she gets what she wants and fights for things just as fiercely as the other babies. Michelle told me today that when she and Hannah are fighting over a toy box that Caroline usually wins, even though Hannah is much much bigger. I have to laugh at that.

I made mini funfetti cupcakes for her classroom to enjoy today and they will sing to her again at school. So all told her birthday celebration has somehow lasted four days now.

We took the official one year photos with the bear on her actual birthday. What's the deal with the bear photos now? Should I continue taking photos monthly or at milestone months like 18 months or annually?


Lest I forget!

What's Caroline Eating Today?

Nutri Grain Waffle
English Muffin "pizza"
Cheddar cheese

and FUNFETTI mini cupcake

I might offer her some of our chili tonight - it is pretty flavorful so not so sure it will go over, but a little intro to chili won't hurt her

Happy First Birthday Miss Caroline

It seems cliche to say that the year has passed so quickly, but it really has. When I look back on the year it is like a fast forwarded DVD zipping by at x8 and I can barely make out the various scenes. My once needy newborn Caroline is an independent little girl.

I suppose she was always independent (or at least she was thoughtful enough to give us a preview) beginning when she chose to arrive a week after we had expected her. Didn't she know we had a room for her, and diapers, and adorable carefully folded onesies, and that we had read the books, and we were both absolutely overwhelmed with the excitement of her arrival and scared out of our gourds that she actually might be born someday???

The moment she was born will always be one of the defining moments in my life, and I am sure in Steve's too, though we have never really talked about it in that way. Her birth awakened me to Steve's strength when he not only beared witness, but actively participated. Surely he was showing signs then too of the amazing, loving father he would become to our baby girl. In that defining moment, when she was laid on my chest and our eyes met, she stared into my very soul. The tears started then and they didn't stop, but they were tears of absolute joy and overwhelming happiness. She was here. Did anything else ever matter?

This year was full of lessons and I doubt I have ever or will ever learn as much in a year as I did in 2007. There are things that I will file away that we must remember for that mythical "next time," things that I will have stronger convictions for, things that I won't take quite as seriously, things that I would say and not say, things that I would do and not do... but mostly the lessons I learned were about life and love and family.

I watched her once deep dark blue eyes morph to a beautiful hazel green, which we only recently came to know belong not just to her, but also to my father. We analyzed her cute pointy brows and decided that they came from Kiki. I see her Auntie k's smiling cheeks when she grins at me. I see my brother's expressive wide eyes when she sits doe eyed sucking her thumb, watching me. We observe her picking up her food with her right hand and throwing a ball with her left, wondering still which hand is dominant. We watch and look and pick her apart, wanting to know how she came to be herself, but mostly she is just that, herself. I can see her father in the little dimple by the side of her mouth and I am sure he sees me in a way I don't know about, but Caroline is Caroline, a perfectly brewed mix of all the most important people in her life.

I am terrified of leaving this Earth. I am scared of what will happen. I hate knowing that there is a final day, minute, breath. I stand with her in my arms just up from a nap looking in the mirror at myself, a mother. I save this image, caroline.mommy.mirror.jpg, store it away and hope that in 30 years I will be able to recall it with the vividness I know I will long for then. I sit with her and stare into her eyes, listen to her breathing, rub her back, always mentally saving sweet sounds and images and the feel of her touch (until I get poked in the eye with a flying pointer finger!). I have the answer - what is the meaning of life? - this. Caroline. Family. Babies. Connections. This is what it must be all about because never have I experienced anything that makes me feel as spiritual as this. One look, one pant leg tug, one hand touching my page flipping fingers, one little sigh, one belly laugh, never has any one person held such an amazing grip on me and reminded me everyday that the stress of work, bills, housework means little at the end of day when compared with the countless joys which she brings into our home. One day, one year. She has made all the difference and I am forever grateful and hopeful.