Sunday, December 19, 2010

I LOVE you!

I'll work backwards since today was pretty exciting for us. It's been a rough week (more about that in a few). After Scarlett got up this morning, I took her into the bathroom to brush her teeth and (as usual) she started pointing to her bathtime Winnie the Pooh. When I gave him to her, she said what sounded exactly like "I love you" and gave him a kiss. I thought it was adorable but figured I was hearing very creatively. Afterwards, I changed her diaper and took her into our bedroom to say good morning to daddy. As we were laying there, I told Paul that it sounded like she told Winnie the Pooh that she loved him. So I said, "Scarlett, I LOVE you!", she then repeated it back to me and gave me a kiss! Then Paul did it and she did the same thing (giving me a kiss afterwards). It was pretty cool! I tell her I love her all the time, usually giving her a kiss afterwards, so it makes sense, but I figured it would be quite a while before we got it in return. It was a pretty great moment.

Anyway, we went to brunch this morning with Claire, Kyle, and Crystal at a new restaurant/bar in Arlington. It was nice and empty when we got there which was perfect for Scarlett to do laps without really bothering anyone. By the end of brunch she was TIRED. I had to sit in the back seat with her on the 10 minute drive home to keep her awake so that we could get her down for her nap. After all of that, she only slept for about an hour and a half, but it was needed.

On that note, I am not sure if she has yet another cold, or it is just the teething. Her bottom right jaw is horribly swollen. She is cutting at least one more tooth -- another molar. As a result, she has a stuffy/very runny nose, her mouth is bothering her a lot, and she has a periodic fever. As expected, all of that adds up to a baby not sleeping through the night. She tries her best, but she can't breathe well and her mouth hurts. So once she does get up, we have a really hard time getting her back down again and it often ends up with her in the basement or in our bed for a while.

Also following our typical pattern, all of that has aligned with a busy week. Paul and I had our Christmas parties, we had dinner with a friend of mine from Florida, a hectic work week and my last week of teaching. Abigail stayed with Scarlett on Thursday and Friday so we could go to our office Xmas parties. Luckily, it sounds like she was pretty good for Abigail, but didn't stay asleep after we got home. Oh well. It sucks to be sleep deprived, but as adults I feel like we can handle it okay. I feel really bad for her because she is also sleep deprived, but feels crappy to boot. She tends to be in pretty good spirits despite it all, but she acts a little manic -- she will start crying all of the sudden (probably her mouth hurting) and has been unusually attached to her milk sippy cup. This week has brought a few more temper tantrums than usual. I hope that it is her mouth rather than a new stage, but between bratty spurts, she has been very sweet and VERY funny. She is a total goof ball. Her favorite thing to do is play chase, but once you start chasing her she moves her arms in and out like she is pulling on a lawn mower cord to get it going. Too funny. She also has a habit of opening her mouth as wide as she possibly can or scrunching up her nose to try to get a reaction. Yesterday she started stuffing her toys down her shirt. And of course, we don't encourage any of this. Today we also saw her trying to feed her toy moose an animal cracker.
She does look like she is starting a lawnmower. Sometimes she runs while doing "the butter churn", other times she raises one or both hands in the air, then slams them down, but whatever she does, she normally ends up speed-walking out of control and crashes to the ground. Scarlett really has come into her own with her sense of humor. She's always had a great one, but the more she develops physically and cognitively, the more creative she gets. I'll try to list a few:
1. Intentionally grabbing an object and not letting it go until we chase her around the house
2. Feeding us her food
3. Hitting herself in the head with her hard plastic maraca (it makes a different noise with each shake).
4. Shoving her fish bowl
5. Dancing goofy while looking at us to make sure we are laughing
6. Shoving a stuffed penguin down her shirt (she thought it was funny when we did it to her, so she repeated it about 15 times)
7. Dancing in the shower while standing and smacking her hands against the back of the shower
8. I was holding her hand at a restaurant and she looked at me and decided to see if she could lean back and touch her head to the ground
9. Imitating an American Indian chant by smacking her open hand to her mouth (not all that gently)
10. Running around the living room, grabbing anything she can find and handing them to us one at a time.

Ten is enough (although the pickle pictures speak for themselves- and we are saving one picture for a rainy day when Scarlett is a bit older... I'll leave it at that.) We need to start writing these things down so we can remember them. I blame old age for my memory loss, Shonna blames the Scarlett pregnancy.

Sorry for the babyblogapolooza this weekend. The unfinished blogs were piling up and we finally got to them.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Taking it one parent at a time...

This week Paul and I were essentially having a parenting relay race. He left on Sunday to go to Tampa for work and got back Tuesday evening. I left on Wednesday in the early afternoon for Philadelphia for work and got back Friday night. Despite some additional teething and what appears to be YET ANOTHER cold, Scarlett has been really good lately and lots of fun, so it hasn't been a bad time for us to be operating with a handicap. Things were pretty uneventful while Paul was away. She and I did a lot of playing, with chase being one of her favorite games. I also just like watching her play on her own. She has gotten really good at sorting shapes and manipulating objects (e.g., stacking her rings on the wooden stick). She is mimicking adults a lot now (brushing her hair with a brush, tipping the teapot over the cup, putting Vicks vapor rub under her nose), even when she doesn't know we are watching. It's kind of crazy how fast stuff like that changes. It hasn't been very long at all since she was determined to get the triangle in the square hole, but now she gets them all, often on the first try. The one thing is that she isn't falling asleep on us as much these days. For the most part, we're back to having to just put her in her crib and let her cry until she falls asleep. Luckily, that doesn't seem to take as long as it used to.

On Friday when I got back we really just ran errands. We went to Costco to get stuff for making Christmas cookies. Scarlett has been talking a lot more these days. She has added "baby" to her list of favorites. She has been saying baby for a long time, but now she says it all of the time. in fact, she has stopped calling Bacchus a dog, and has started calling him a baby. It's pretty cute actually because she often shouts "Oh, Baby!" Poor cat isn't going to know what his name (or species) is.

Saturday Dave came over and we tried out Paul's birthday present from my mom - a waffle maker. As it turns out, Scarlett LOVES waffles. She ate almost a half of a waffle after her breakfast. Then we went to Clemyjontri park in McLean, VA ( It was AWESOME!! First, it is probably the biggest playground I've ever seen. It's also cool because it's designed so that children with disabilities can also use the equipment. It has sign language all over the place and ramps for wheel chairs and special swings. It was fun for all four of us! Scarlett was not excited to leave the playground as usual and started crying when we took her out of the swings. She then promptly fell asleep in the car.


Talk about a kiddie park. Its like an amusement park for kids, AND FREE :) They even have a merry-go-round (although its only available during the summer season.) There is so much to do, even adults can sneak in some fun of their own. We may have "tested" some equipment while we were there... like the zip line. Yes they have a zip line! They also have a racetrack, a workout area, and cool underground pipe "phones" that allow you to talk to someone on the other side of the park. Park pictures can be found here The only scary part if that its located right next to the CIA. I accidentally turned onto that road once. You can't get out until you reach the gate... and the guards don't have much of a sense of humor. We can't wait until the spring to try the park, although I have a feeling it gets pretty popular when the weather is nice. We may have stumbled upon the best day to visit. A sunny 50 degree day during the off season.

Sunday was baking day. And when I say day, I mean every waking hour of the day. Just look at the pictures. We did have a pretty good system though. Mommy made the dough, daddy balled up the cookies and put them in the oven (while watching football;). Scarlett bounced off the walls. I think she walked through a cloud of confectioners sugar at one point. After all, we did use over 24 cups of the stuff. Along with pounds of butter, sugar, flour... All-in-all we made 12 dozen oatmeal chocolate chip, 140+ buckeyes, dozens of raspberry filled butter cookies, gooey chocolate butter cookies, ginger bread cookies, and ricotta-lemon cookies. Oh yea I almost forgot the pumpkin cake. By the end of the day, we had no desire to eat another cookie. That anti-cookie stance lasted for at least 24 hours... but I will say that under normal conditions, we would have eaten twice as much as we have to this point. Scarlett is another story all together. As with most kids, she would gladly forego any of her favorite dishes for a dinner consisting entirely of cookies and cake, washed down with whipped cream, although we try to keep it under control. Every time we pass by the table with the bags of cookies on them though, she points as hard as she possibly can.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy birthday, Liam!

We haven't been very good at keep up with the blog of late. The week of Thanksgiving, Scarlett was really sick. She wasn't herself all week -- a little fussier than usual, not sleeping well, and seemed to have a really bad cold. She was clearly teething and uncomfortable, but on Thanksgiving day, we knew it was bad. She'd been so stuffy that she couldn't breathe at night, and thus couldn't sleep. Her normal position of sleeping on her knees made it impossible for any of it to drain down, so she really could only sleep when she was sleeping on one of us (Paul in particular) or down on the recliner in the basement. It made for a long week with little sleep, but luckily, Paul and I had both planned to be home the day after thanksgiving (his birthday -- Happy 42nd!) and that weekend. On the way up to Baltimore on thanksgiving, I noticed that she was messing with her ear. She didn't touch it again though, so I thought it was a fluke. She was still really sick so by Saturday morning we decided to take her in to the doctor. As it turned out, in addition to cutting three molars and having a bad cold, she had gotten an ear infection! We felt horrible for not taking her in earlier, but the stories we had heard of babies with ear infections involved constant screaming. I guess she is just too mellow for her own good because we knew she wasn't feeling well, but she was generally pretty normal (jumping on the trampoline, playing with her toys). She was napping a lot more, not eating much, and much needier, but otherwise nothing all that unusual. Anyway, they gave her some antibiotics for the ear infection and within a day or two, she was feeling much better and in an amazing mood because of it. We love how much she loves life. When she is feeling good, she wake up giggling and ready for the day. If only we all had that attitude!

We hadn't realized until we were on our way up north on Thanksgiving day that Scarlett was so sick, so the day before we went to Paul's friend Mike's house for a thanksgiving day prequel party with her. There were a bunch of people and older children. Despite being under the weather, she did really well. She wandered around through the crowd and tried to play with the other children. There was an interesting moment when the other children were running up the stairs and Scarlett was following after them (I was trailing behind watching to see what she would do) but Scarlett stopped at the bottom of the stairs, shook her head no, and turned around and walked away. I was so proud! I was expecting to have to scold her or run and grab her, especially since other kids were going upstairs, but she corrected herself! Not bad for a one year old!

As I said, on Thanksgiving we went up to Baltimore to Paul's cousin's restaurant to spend thanksgiving with his family. We had a nice dinner and although she definitely wasn't herself, Scarlett was doing pretty well. After we got home, Jacy came over and we met Tracy at Tyson's Corner Mall for midnight madness (Black Friday started at midnight!). We got back from a pretty successful trip around 4:45 AM.

Paul's birthday didn't turn out quite as planned because I was feeling sick, Scarlett was too sick to leave the house, and it turned out that the dinner I wanted to make required sitting overnight in the fridge. Paul can say more about his birthday and dinners, but the short version is that he ended up making his own birthday dinner -- a full thanksgiving dinner.

Saturday morning, Bonnie, her mom, and Caroline came over to visit. That night I finally made Paul's birthday dinner.

The past week has been pretty hectic with work and I started coming down with something. I knew I was coming down with what Scarlett had. In part because she and I always share, but also because I had a few hours here and there where I felt pretty crappy. Paul and I were pretty focused on her though, so I was able to hold it off for a while. I thought I was through the woods until last night after Liam's party when I started feeling flu-ish. To back up, we went to Silver Spring for Jacy's 29th birthday dinner on Friday. Since she shares her birthday with Liam, we decided to break it up and give her a baby-free evening to have the focus on her. Saturday though it was all about Liam. They had a big jungle-themed birthday party for him in Oxon Hill (I'm sure she'll say more about it in her blog ( It was awesome! The decorations were adorable and they had really cool favors; "photobooth" pictures on personalized backings with a picture of Liam. Too cute!

We'd planned to go out after the party, but I was feeling pretty horrible by the time we made it back to the house. Instead, Paul ended up taking care of Scarlett while I took some medicine and turned in for a 12-hour night of sleep. Luckily, Scarlett seems to be back to normal and is full of energy. Paul left today for Tampa for a few days of business. Scarlett and I have been having a lot of fun in his absence, but are looking forward to his return! He gets back on Tuesday afternoon, just in time for me to head to Philadelphia for a few days. Next weekend we're planning to spend a few days baking Christmas treats, so if you have any good recipes, let us know!

As Shonna mentioned, Scarlett was basically sick the entire week. However, as you can see by the pictures, she perked up during the day and crashed hard at night. One of the modification we had to make was to elevate her head so she could breath while sleeping. The bed photo was taken early morning after Scarlett woke up in her crib. She was much more comfortable with her head raised on mommy's pillow :) The 2nd sleep photo was taken after I pulled her out of her crib and slept on the recliner in the basement. Believe it or not, I was able to slide out of the chair and take the photo (and I may have slipped in a nap on the nearby bed... shhhhhh). Well, this late-night, early morning wake up was getting tiring (literally) so I did some research. After educating myself, I grabbed a bunch of books, raised the right side of her crib roughly 4 inches, and wouldn't you know it the solution worked???? She slept through the night.

So this week apparently was the week of extremely large meals. Normal people instinctively have lighter caloric days throughout the week with Thanksgiving looming. We bucked the trend and decided to make it a 3-day eating frenzy. Thursday, as Shonna mentioned, we ate Thanksgiving dinner at my cousin's restaurant. It was an excellent but non-traditional meal. Smoked turkey breast instead of a whole turkey, a sweet sauerkraut dish instead of our usual version simmering in turkey meat (its a German/Baltimore thing), mac and cheese... and LOTS of desserts.

Friday was my birthday and it was fantastic. It started with Shonna running off to Black Friday @ Tysons, and ended with a turkey coma. Scarlett and I spent the morning together while The Black Friday Widow rested. During the afternoon, I thought it would make sense to cook our (big local farm fresh) turkey so we could eat post thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. I knew Shonna was going to make a birthday dinner so I wanted to get it done early. Unfortunately I put the turkey in later than I wanted to. It was going to be an issue because Shonna came home with birthday dinner which included dry-aged prime rib. Mmmmmm. Unfortunately the recipe called for 24 hrs of marination, and 3 hrs of cooking. Marinading in a salt rub was something we could work around, but 3 hrs of cooking was an issue, especially at 7pm. On to plan B it was! Turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing... the works. Too bad I tried to make a semi-healthy version of mashed potatoes (partially due to ingredients on hand), but besides that, the dinner was excellent.

Saturday was THE dinner day :) Scarlett had a great meal as well. Too bad she couldn't taste it! Up to this point in her life, Scarlett's palate had to be one of the most sophisticated of any baby I've ever heard of. Unfortunately her recent congestion put a halt to that immediately. She seemed so frustrated with her taste buds, that she refused to eat. She lost a pound and a half just to give you an idea of how her eating habits changed this week. It reminded me of a science experiment we conducted in Jr. High School. Try plugging you nose and eating an apple and raw potato blind folded. You can't tell the difference. That's the state Scarlett was in. Can you imagine going to an expensive restaurant and spending $100 on a tasteless meal? You might as well drink manischewitz and eat rice cakes... Okay, back to the meal. The prime rib was marinated in season salt, rock salt, and all other kinds of goodies. Have you ever had a Morton's prime rib? They only serve them on weekends, and I believe they limit it to 2 full racks (14 bones) but they serve double boned or roughly 3 lbs of juicy salty love. Morton's usually sell out in a couple of hours max. We also had seared scallops and multiple desserts. Again Mmmmmmm. It would have been absolutely perfect if it weren't for our faulty thermometer. The calibration was off, and we overcooked the beef. Live and learn. The flavor was still simply amazing however!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

First full week as a 1 year old

Scarlett had a crazy week last week, so even though this week seemed pretty busy, I guess it paled in comparison. She spent the day with Nana and G-G on Monday (we kept her out of daycare). That night we went out to a Thai restaurant for Paul's birthday dinner with his family. Overall, she was pretty good at the restaurant, but definitely high energy. She had lots of fun with G-G while she was here -- Scarlett normally hates her car seat and screams while she is in it, but with G-G sitting next to her and playing peek-a-boo, she was happy as a clam. She has actually seemed better a lot of the time since then too!

Scarlett went back to daycare on Tuesday morning and Paul drove them back up to Baltimore. She had swimming again that night. I had to work late most nights last week, so there wasn't too much activity. On Friday, I was home with Scarlett. After her nap, we left to go to the University of Maryland's child development lab for her 12-month visit. This time she had a cognitive test (among other things). I guess they don't typically tell you the results unless there is something wrong, but I told them I wanted to know, so they gave me ranges. In some cases the ranges are pretty wide, but here's how she did:

1. Gross Motor: 21-26 month range
2. Visual Perception: 21-32 month range
3. Fine Motor: 18 - 29 month range
4. Receptive Language: 15-22 month range
5. Expressive Language: 15-23 month range.

As a psychologist, it was interesting to watch the testing. It was a standardized test of course, but knowing my baby and what she is exposed to, there were certain things that I knew she knew the concept but she wasn't responding in the lab. For example, in one of the tests, the researcher would say "give it to me" first without nonverbal gestures, then, if she didn't respond, she would add a hand gesture (pointing to the palm of her hand with her arm extended). She didn't usually respond to the oral only command, but she did respond to the nonverbal. I know that she never hears "give it to me" but she does hear and respond to "can I have that/it?" on a regular basis. There were a few other things where she was just clearly not as comfortable in the lab as she is at home, so she responded a little differently than she normally does. That being said, it seemed like a pretty reasonable test and I think it was fairly representative of her abilities (probably more ahead in physical abilities than in verbal abilities; although I think her receptive language skills are much better than her expressive skills, but maybe that's the norm). The main thing is that she seems to be on track with everything, so I was happy with that! We feel like she is doing great, but since she is our first child, sometimes it is hard to know what is typical at a certain age.

After the appointment, we stopped at my friend Bob's house in Adelphi. I hadn't seen Bob in about 3 years, so this was his first time meeting Scarlett. She warned up to him very quickly and even more quickly to his house. She ran around trying to get into everything. She tried to rip up or throw his mail everywhere, play with his DVDs, and find all available electrical sockets. He just kept commenting on her energy level. Eventually we had to get us both fed, so we headed to Greenbelt to go to the Silver Diner. There were a bunch of babies there, which of course made her want to run around the restaurant to play with all of them, but only after she destroyed the table. I guess she must have gotten some food in her mouth, but with the amount on the floor under the table, it was hard to know how.

On Saturday I had to teach in the morning and got back late, but I made sure to be home in time to catch some daylight. The weather has been just gorgeous here lately so we wanted to take advantage of it and go outside to play. We packed Scarlett up and took the Custis Trail to the larger playground nearby. There was a birthday party going on, so it was pretty crowded. Scarlett has been going through a pretty clingy/shy phase, so she seemed very intimidated by all of the kids and didn't want us to put her down (unless it was in a swing). She got to play with a puppy, but other than that we decided it was best if we headed to a smaller playground near our house that tends to be less busy.

We had to run (hills and all!) to make it there before it got dark. There she had a great time. She loves one of the slides there and just wants to go on it over and over again. As usual, she started crying when it was time to go. We ended up going out for dinner to a restaurant right by our house ( Scarlett was in rare form. All of that shyness went right out the window when our super nice waiter gave her a friendly greeting a paid a lot of attention to her. That's all it took to get her out of her shell. Then, we couldn't get her back IN her shell... She wanted to run all over the restaurant (literally) and say "hi" to all of the other patrons. She went up to each table giving them a huge smile and waving before running on to the next. She made sure to give some attention to the employees as well. She was in heaven. The place has a very neighborhood feel and everyone was really nice about the baby running wild through the aisles. Yes, we are now those parents (never in a million years would I have called that one!). Each table made sure to tell her how adorable and happy she is and ask her name and age. One table thanked us for providing the entertainment during an otherwise mundane dinner. Lets just hope that was how they really felt! Scarlett has a pretty crazy palate for a 1 year old. At dinner she had vegan squash soup (which was quite spicy and made her stick out her tongue, but she kept asking for more), spinach and ricotta ravioli with pesto sauce and fresh tomatoes, a little bit of seabass, and panko crusted portabello mushrooms. She loved all of it.

We actually got her to bed pretty early (for her) that night and unlike most nights lately, she slept through the night. The poor kid recently cut a molar on her bottom left side (her 5th tooth) and now the bottom right is SUPER swollen and she seems to be in pain again. She is a trooper though and keeps a good attitude about it most of the time -- she just shoves everything in her mouth.

Today we met up with Jacy, Joel, and Liam in Alexandria to go jogging on the Mount Vernon trail. Jacy and I are trying to band together to finish off the rest of our baby weight and get back into shape (yet another benefit of having them back in the area!) and this was our first session. We started at my office and went north toward National Airport. We had each of the babies in a stroller and our plan was to rotate them among the four of us since running with a stroller is much more challenging than running without. The turns really ended up being 80% Joel and Paul and 20% me and Jacy after a while because it's a very hilly trail and it turns out that the boys are in far better shape! In the end, Joel said we did about 5 1/4 miles (some walking in there though!). The babies took a nap during the ride, so it worked out pretty well. We're hoping to do it again soon. That trail is 18 miles long and connects to the Custis trail, which is another 45 miles long, so we could cover a lot of ground if we tried to run a different part of it each time!

After the jog we grabbed some lunch and they headed home while we stopped at a playground before heading back. More fun on the swings and slides for Scarlett. Once we got home, we were all pretty tired. Scarlett played with all of her toys for an hour or two while Paul got some work done and I took a cat nap. After dinner, we put on some 80s music and danced around the house, which is probably one of Scarlett's favorite things to do. She is a dancing machine and loves to laugh at us while we dance around in a very goofy, exaggerated way. We also did some wrestling and playing chase. She was finally worn out enough to go to bed around 10PM.

This week will be Scarlett's second Thanksgiving, but it seems like it is her first. Paul's birthday is on Friday, so she and I have some planning to do to make sure he feels sufficiently spoiled. The best part about the holiday week is that the three of us will get to spend four full days together in a row! It seems like that never happens unless we're traveling somewhere. Bring on the Turkey!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scarlett's 1st birthday with Nana and G-G

Visiting with Scarlett is always a so exciting, but to spend it celebrating her birthday was just wonderful. Since I had been here in June, she has grown into such and amazing person. Walking and "talking" and really understanding a lot of what you say. She can entertain everyone with just a smile, but she adds a lot to the smile now, singing songs, dancing, and jumping. We all got pretty good at "Old McDonald had a farm" EeIEeIO. Her vocabulary was increasing each day we were here and I am sure I heard her say GG, even though I worked on Nana, but that's how it goes. How special to be able to spend your 1st birthday with your Great Grandmother, Wow. She really loves people and a Scarlett hug can keep you happy for days.
Scarlett, I will miss you and just remember the smiles and hugs, and the times you put your arms out to me to pick you up. I will plan another visit as soon. You are the light of my life, you light up a room with your enchanting smile. Much love to you, Nana

Monday, November 15, 2010

Scarlett's 1st Birthday Week

I remember when Birthdays were only celebrated once a year. One night, and that's all you get. More and more I hear stories of birthday weekends, birthday weeks (2 weekends plus the weekdays sandwiched between the two), and even birthday months. Is it a girl thing? I have a friend who would go out with a bunch of her girlfriends and each would take turns pretending it was her birthday (completely different story but its funny and extremely economical as it turns out...) Anyway, Scarlett's first birthday just happened to turn into one of these crazy weeks (or two weeks if you include opening a couple of presents early). Monday was her actual birthday, and we had a few friends and family come over to celebrate with Georgetown Cupcakes (yes we still eat them despite their horrible, scripted "reality" show). Dave, Jacy/Joel/Liam, and Tracy/Anna/Will/Alana/Stephen came by to watch Scarlett open presents and smear cupcake frosting all over her face. Too bad they didn't stay until after 11 when we finally got her to come down off of her sugar high and go to bed! They say 1 year olds have no clue what it means to have a birthday and although I mostly agree with that, she definitely knew that something was going on and that she was getting a lot of attention. Luckily, attention is about her favorite thing in the world. Everyone has been incredibly generous for Scarlett's birthday, which is wonderful in that she is definitely feeling the love (and the over-stimulation!) but my goodness... we are going to need to buy a guest house to hold all of her toys! And little miss ADD just goes from one to the next in rapid succession. Whew! It's tiring just watching her.

Shonna wrote the last few sentences, so I have the mention the end of the birthday night. I made the first attempt at putting her down. I thought I was successful, but apparently I needed a relief pitcher. Shonna went up and just about had her. She came downstairs, but Scarlett's fussing started up again. I went up, rocked her in the chair, and BAM! She exploded all over me, the floor, up her nose, in her hair... All I could do was yell HELP! I immediately turned on the shower, undressed her, put her in and washed the mac and cheese off of the both of us. Before I could blink, Scarlett reached into the drain, grabbed the clean, bare pasta and shoved it into her mouth. I wish I had it on camera. It would have been a hit on youtube.

Tuesday we went swimming. To stay with the theme, we did have a #2 scare in the pool. The instructor thought she stepped on something. We all ran out of the pool, and we were mad. Why does this keep happening (3rd time) when the rules specifically state "wear swimming diaper and/or rubber bottom bathing suit"? I looked at some of the non-class kids and they were wearing normal bathing suits without any lining or special diaper. How are they allowed in the pool? Are we so afraid to call someone out these days? "Sorry sir/ma'am, you're baby isn't wearing the right attire and something might leak out." Instead its "I can't say anything to embarrass them. It might hurt their feelings even though they might cause an entire pool to be shut down because of a floater." Well, that was probably accurate the first two times. This time our instructor thought she noticed a turd, but it was actually a light tan hair clip. Um. I'm sorry but do those two things look similar, even in 4 feet of water? "Better to be safe than sorry" is what we all told her. She apologized 3 or 4 times, so I have a feeling she felt embarrassed for making us get out of the baby pool and into the adult pool (and risk shutting down both pools).
Besides that issue, Scarlett and I had a great pool day. I can now dunk her without worry, but I also have to be strategic when doing so. For some reason, she likes drinking pool water, so most of the time when I try to bob her into the water, she opens her mouth and tries to take a swig. I have to catch her off guard, and when I do, she actually holds her breath. She is only in the water for a split second however. Don't worry about her well being!

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful leading up to the party, although she did have her 1yr checkup on Friday. She passed with flying colors minus the slight anemia. Apparently she is doing things an 18 month old does. Physically, she has been throwing objects overhand for a few weeks now. When the Dr. asked if she was throwing things by what essentially amounts to a chest pass, I said that she actually throws overhand. The Dr looked at me in disbelief, but as Shonna and I have witnessed, she routinely throws her toys overhand. Its not always pretty, and some spike right into the ground (we will work on her release point), but sure enough she throws overhand. She is advanced in many other categories, but the throwing seemed to be the focus of this apt. Time to hit CVS or some Fer-in-sol to boost her iron count...

Scarlett's Nana (grandmother) and GiGi (great-grandmother) stayed with us from Saturday Nov 13th to Tuesday Nov 16th. Nana documented their stay in a separate blog. It was great having 4 generations under one roof. Our family record is 5 generations (my nephew with my late great-grandmother Nana Fay, his great-great). I have a feeling GiGi (better known as Flossy) will live long enough to see a great-great herself. She is 92 and still plays golf. If she lives to be as old Nana Fay (107.5), Scarlett will only be turning 17 (and it better not come into play!), but my nephew Roland will be 26 or 27 so it is a possibility.

Scarlett's official birthday party was on Saturday (Nov. 13th) at J.W. Tumbles. It's a kid's gym about a mile from our house. We reasoned that there was no way we were going to fit people in our little (ill-designed) house (Monday was REALLY crowded), so we rented it for a birthday part,y figuring that we would spend about the same amount to have it at home. We weren't impressed by them before the party -- they wouldn't return our phone calls and were never there. But on the day of, they really pulled it together! Scarlett had about 14 kids there and maybe 25 adults. The place did a great job of keeping the kids entertained. They had a new activity every 10 minutes or so, including a bubble "machine" (a big fan with a teenager manning the bubbles), a zip line with a swing, a "tight rope", trampolines, some circle time, and then all of the normal stuff like slides, a rock climbing wall, tunnels, etc. It looked like a lot of fun! Scarlett was running around like crazy in the beginning but about 1/2 way through, she would get tired and just collapse for a minute on the mats until she was ready to go again. It was pretty funny. She spent a lot of time on the trampolines and throwing a ball with her friend from daycare, Claire.

After the official party, we had some cake and went upstairs to Pietanza for pizza. Scarlett downed way too much macaroni and cheese, as we learned at about 1130 that night when she threw it up all over Paul. :) Turns out she burned a lot of calories that she thought required immediate replenishing! I couldn't believe how much stuff she got! It would be a very long list if I tried to document everything here, but among her favorites were her trampoline and talking pot (from Nonni), her talking tea set, puzzles, toy kitchen, pillow pal, and, of course, the balloons. My two favorite things were a picture frame from Jacy that had a close up of her from each month of her life (gorgeous and definitely facilitates my obsession with her!) and a drawing that Pennie did of her. It is a drawing of one of the pictures from her 10 month photo shoot and is just amazing. I am seriously lucky to have such thoughtful and talented/creative friends! Finally, she got some savings bonds, which I am sure will come in handy in helping us pay for college since I hear it will be about 300k by the time she goes!

On Sunday, we finally got to take Flossy to her much belated birthday (April) outing, high tea at the Ritz Carlton in Tyson's Corner. It was also Scarlett's first tea experience, so it was a big occasion all around! We each ordered the royal tea, complete with champagne and strawberries with whipped cream and they even brought out an extra set of sandwiches and treats for Scarlett, including a sugar cookie man. She did pretty well considering it was such a low key event and did a lot of eating. The biggest problem was that she kept inviting herself to join our neighbor's tea party. Our little social butterfly... Who wouldn't want to have tea with Scarlett? The folks at the Ritz were kind enough to give Scarlett a Ritz Carlton rubber ducky. Two of the actually (one from the guy at the front desk, which is even wearing scuba gear). She is one fancy girl.

After tea, Flossy wanted to go to the mall to do our annual Christmas/Paul's birthday shopping trip. Her rule is that you don't get a present if you don't go shopping with her and pick it out. So Paul picked out a new winter coat. I tired to get a coat too, but as usual, my monkey arms meant that I had to order one online to be able to find one with sleeves long enough. She kindly still got me the coat even though I didn't get it while I was with her!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Three hundred and sixty four days later

Tonight we went to the Capitals/Flyers hockey game for Scarletts first birthday eve. Scarlett loves sporting events. Not necessarily the same way daddy does, but she probably has more fun if the good guys lose. As a matter of fact, I don't think she cares so much if the team wins or not, as long as everyone around her gives her the time of day. I take that back. If the home team is losing, people around her won't be as happy and won't pay as much attention to her or give her as much positive feedback. That would not be good! We count on that assistance to get us through a 2.5 to 3+ hr sporting events. I will say that it is amazing how much attention she receives while we are out (whether its a game, at a restaurant, on the metro...) I'm sure other infants receive quite a bit of attention as well, but just using tonight's game as an example, multiple strangers came up to us on the concourse to tell us how cute she was. Our seat neighbors, front, back, left, right, and passersby made similar comments and played with her, and a camera man planted himself in the aisle of our row for 10 minutes so he could get Scarlett on film. I don't think there was a moment where she wasn't feeling the love. Sure makes taking Scarlett to sporting events worth while!

Scarlett has been to 3 sporting events so far. 2 Capitals games and a Ravens game. The last 2 have gone into overtime. Just to give you some perspective, The Ravens have had 2 overtime home games in 3 years, and The Capitals? OK, well they seem to go into overtime every other home game, so that's a bad example (3 OTs out of 8 games). All I'm saying is that Scarlett seems to attract the long games, but regardless of game length, its not really an issue as long as we have the food and the neighbors to keep her mind off of it.

This week has been relatively slow in terms of activity. Tuesday's swim class was poopless and went on as scheduled :) The conservative woman instructor led the class this week as opposed to the crazy man, so I extended Scarlett's swim time by 15 minutes after class was over. I worked in actual swimming during that time. The lady instructor seems to be stuck on simply getting the babies used to the water in general. Scarlett and many other babies are beyond that.

Scarlett has made some serious physical and verbal strides. Physically, she can walk more than a lap around our 1st floor without stopping. She can eat with both hands, and more importantly, she is able to throw with both hands! Today, Shonna brought home 2 plastic packages of apple slices. Scarlett grabbed them off of the coffee table and spiked them on the floor with her right hand, then picked them up and threw them in our direction with her left hand. Our little athlete! :) Verbally, she is starting to form compete sentences that only she can understand. I will say that she is starting to put actual English words together, which has been catching us off guard. She will say something like "yea dada" or other phrases, and Shonna and I just look at each other and say "did she just say..."? Its so interesting to see how quickly babies develop physically and cognitively .

So we've covered swimming and the hockey game this week so far. On Friday we went to buy stuff for Scarlett' upcoming first birthday party. She loved the party store because there were lots of little colorful toys for her to play with. Saturday after I got home from work we went to the playground. Scarlett is such a little daredevil! The playground by our house has five or six different slides but her favorite was the sttep tube that goes really fast and you can't see what is coming beneath you. She giggled everytime she got to the top and if we didn't make quick enough progress toward sending her down the side again, she started without us. She tried to climb bck up the slide (not very successful) or would charge right toward it (stairs and all) if we put her on the ground. All told, she probably went down a slide 30 times before we were able to drag her away because it was getting dark.

In other news. Scarlett MUST be going through a growth spurt. She has had a cold this week (as hav I!) and has been teething, so she was already having some trouble sleeping, but she has also been eating constantly and huge amounts. She has probably been having 7 meals per day including snacks and milk (she is on 100% whole milk now) isn't really the base of her diet anymore. Some of her favorite meals include macaroni and cheese, peas, and bbq chicken -- and that is just in one meal, which she'll then follow up with a banana! She really seems to be a bottomless pit these days. I can only hope that it means she'll be getting taller soon, because her cheeks have definitely filled out again over the last week!

Well, it is now her birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SCARLETT!) and we have a big day ahead! We'll add pictures later!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cirque de Soleil et Veille de la Toussaint

Just as the title reads, that about sums up Scarlett's last 2 weeks ;) OK, we also had a visit from Shonna's friend and classmate Justin who stayed with us over the Halloween weekend, and Scarlett missed out on a swimming class. It was devastating as Shonna will describe later. If you saw Caddy Shack, just think Baby Ruth. Also, I went on a 2-day business trip to Colorado Springs, my old stomping grounds. We also went to our first Ravens game as a family. I'm forgetting something. I know something else happened over the past couple of weeks... what was it... Oh yea, it was also our 3rd anniversary on October 20th :)

I guess I will go in chronological order.

Tuesday the 19th was Scarlett's swimming night. It was fine but wasn't much different than the week before. We have 2 weeks to cover so I'll move on.

Wednesday the 20th is our official anniversary, but we didn't exactly celebrate until Thursday night. We both had to work early Thursday morning, so we thought it would be better to wait until we could at least sleep in another hour or two. We didn't completely blow off the official day. We pulled out our wedding crystal and had a glass of champagne. Scarlett didn't seem to mind that we were home. As a matter of fact, if memory serves me correctly, she woke up quite a few times that night to remind us how happy she was to spend the anniversary with mommy and daddy. She loves doing that when we have an early day. Good thing it doesn't happen often! Thursday was our dinner date at The Source Great food, modern architecture, great service. We went with the tasting menu, which was excellent, but a bit pricey for what you get. Unlike places such as Marcel's, you are better served ordering a la cart. While we were out, Scarlett was having a great time with our neighbor, dog walker and babysitter extraordinaire, Abigail. This was Abigail's third night with Scarlett, and first time she was able to get Scarlett to sleep! Shonna and I were both shocked when we received a text just after 9pm stating that she was down for the night. One less thing on our minds! We could relax a little more and enjoy the rest of the romantic dinner. Soon after dinner, the romantic vibe took a 180 as we walked through the doors at carpool, but still fun none the less. We had a drink (well, we both had a beer, but the bartender poured us his favorite Grand Marnier, and both pours ended up in my glass), chatted with Raj the bartender (I've known him for 14 years- worked with him at Sequoia), and soon we were on our way home. The fun night owls were through the front door by 1130pm... Actually, Abigail had to be home by 11 pm, but Shonna's friend Juli was kind enough to relieve her so that we could stay out late. These days 1130 qualifies!

Friday, we worked from home and took Scarlett to her first "circus"! Actually, it was Cirque du Soleil OVO at the National Harbor. OVO was perfect for Scarlett AND her parents. Kind of like Shrek, there is action and humor for all ages. Although she spent half the time looking at our neighbors, she was fascinated by all of the characters, costumes, noises, lights, and high flying acts. She loved the music and danced almost the entire time. Try to guess her favorite out of the following list:

a. Trapeze
b. Goofy bug costumes
c. Trampoline tumblers
d. Wall climbing acrobatics
e. One-man hidden inside costume with 5 huge slinky limbs

I will reveal the answer next week. Guess correctly and you win a prize (or maybe you'll just have bragging rights :) Seriously though, if you have time and OVO is playing near you, try to see it. It was spectacular. We've been to 4 or 5 Cirque productions over 7+ years, and this might have been the best. Only 2 were memorable. The first one and last week's.

Saturday- Outlet shopping in Leesburg. Clothes for Scarlett, a few things for us, including a wallet that both of us thought would be the best one I've had. I'll look for another one asap...

Sunday- Ravens game, hon! We figured the Buffalo Bills game would be a good starter because there was a chance the game would be a blowout and we could leave early (if she fussed too much we would have left early regardless, but Scarlett was, well, Scarlett, at this game. Too many people to play with). We bought Scarlett a Ravens shirt before game day, but as it turned out, we wanted much more for our little purple peanut. We parked, walked down "Ravens Alley", and stumbled into an outdoor Ravens gear store. Ooops. I was wearing my Ray Lewis jersey as was Shonna, so we figured we should get Scarlett a jersey. The only one in her size was Joe Flacco, but he hasn't played up to Scarlett's standards yet. There was a few others, but we focused in on Ray Lewis. The only problem was the size- 3T. It didn't take us long to do the math. The jersey wasn't much more than some of the clothes we've seen, and unlike clothes her size, she will have this jersey for 2+ years! Its a bargain! So the family of Ray Rays walked into the game- quickly I might add. There are multiple security lines for men, women, and only one for family. Guess which one is shorter? Yep, family by like 90%. How great is that? During the game, Scarlett was on her best behavior. Most likely because she was surrounded by fans who were doing what she loves best. They were all paying attention to her. Fans in front, behind, and especially across the aisle were smiling at her, making faces, and waving. She didn't mind that she didn't eat that much, or that it was hot, or that the sun was in her eyes when she looked right. All she cared about was the attention (and unfortunately whatever was dropped under our seats- she loves empty beer bottles and soda cups...). Well.... the game went on and on and on and replay after replay to reverse bad calls on the field, and 71 points scored, and overtime.... it was the longest game I've ever been to. Of course, right? That said, it was a great day to that point. In hindsight if we would have just driven straight home it most likely would have continued that way, but instead we decided to eat a late lunch. We wanted crab soup. The place that used to have great crab soup changed their menu, so we left got in the car, and headed to another place we know of. It took a few loops to find parking, and by that time Scarlett had fallen asleep. OK, change plans again. We drove home. The only problem was that there was an accident on 495. We tried to bypass it (and GPS woke Scarlett up), but apparently traffic also backed up on the side roads as well as further down 495. When Scarlett woke up, she realized that she was starving and very tired. Not a happy baby. Sooooooo we stopped in Silver Spring. We finally found the location, parked, and walked around looking to for a place to eat. All told, instead of getting home at 6-630, we were home after 9 (after a normal game, we would have been home 530 at the latest). Lesson learned. Still a great experience for Scarlett.

Paul left for Colorado on Tuesday morning, which meant that I was going to take Scarlett to swim class all by myself for the first time. After we got home from daycare, I kept talking it up as I got her dressed and she was pretty psyched by the time we got in the car, and even more excited when we got out and she saw the building for the pool. We got in and they told us the news. There had been an "accident" in the children's pool and all classes were canceled. What?!?! What about the adult pool, can she go in there? Nope. Poor Scarlett had to be turned around and dragged out of the building without ever having touched the water. As I tried to put her back into the car, she held onto the door frame and cried her little heart out. SO SAD. I'm not sure I've ever seen her so disappointed. She even had a brand new bathing suit on. Sigh. I felt so bad. I wanted to take her to a playground or something as a consolation but it looked like it was about to storm and was already getting dark. We played a lot at home that night to try to make her feel better, but she is probably forever scarred with disappointment.

Paul got back on Thursday afternoon, just in time for my friend Justin from Minnesota to arrive. He came into town for a job interview and stayed with us through Halloween weekend. Scarlett had no idea what to do with herself around him. Every time he smiled at her or talked to her, she smiled and buried her face in my chest. Now, that newly found shyness seems to be here to stay. She is doing that more and more with strangers.

On Friday night, we went out to the craft store to buy costume making supplies. Justin was a pirate of sorts, Paul was a mallet, I was Old Bay, and Scarlett was a crab. On Saturday we went to Scarlett's first (non) rally at the National mall. Metro had it's highest ridership since the Dessert Storm Rally - Over 740,000 passengers -- one of them being Scarlett. She did as well as could be expected in the crowds, but she only napped for about 10 minutes so we left the rally early as she started melting down and headed home for a group nap. Later that evening, Abigail took over so that Paul, Justin, Jacy, Joel, and I could go to a Halloween party. Except for a ridiculously long cab ride on the way back, it was a good time.

Sunday Justin, Dave, and Paul watched football before I took Justin to the airport. Jacy, Joel, and Liam came over and we went out trick-or-treating in our neighborhood for the first time. It was a lot of fun to see the neighbors and made us love our neighborhood even more. The firetruck came by passing out bags of candy and invitations to their Christmas party. Liam and Scarlett went as a devil and angel, respectively. They got a lot of compliments. We discovered that Scarlett can break through a candy wrapper and she discovered her first love... CHOCOLATE. We were walking around when we suddenly noticed that she was covered in chocolate drool. And so was her formerly white costume. She had a MAJOR temper tantrum when we took the chocolate away too. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

One nice byproduct of trick-or-treating was that we found 2 potential babysitters! One block over there were 16 year old twins who thought she was cute and want to babysit.