Tuesday, September 28, 2010

10-month photo shoot!

Just a quick post to share the pictures from Scarlett's 10-month photo shoot that we did in August. We love them!

Let us know what you think!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Walking might actually be fun

Its no secret that after an initial surge, Scarlett has scrapped walking for the preferred crawling or cruising. Perhaps it is the hardwood floors (although she has a padded play area, and her daycare is fully carpeted). Perhaps it is fear of falling (even though she is basically immune if she falls, hits her head, or goes head first into a glass door/wall... as long as she is having a good time and is not cranky before impact.) Perhaps its just that crawling is easier and she doesn't see the value in walking just yet. Was that fine German engineered baby walker a big waste of money??? Well, the good news is that things are starting to change. She is starting to figure out that #1, if she takes a step or two she gets A LOT of positive feedback (and we all know how she likes to play to a crowd); #2 similar to her first crawl, she takes pride in learning something new and challenging; and #3 ITS FUN! We've been working with her on the front lawn after picking her up from daycare. She looks so happy when she takes a step or two with her arms open wide ready for a big hug when she reaches us. A few days ago on a whim, I dusted off the walker, stood Scarlett up and placed her hands on the bars. Off she went! Of course coordination will take some time, but she was taking many steps and was giggling and gleaming with pride. The walker would get ahead of her and she would either take a gigantic lunge, or take a knee and start over. It only took her a month and a half to warm up to it, but the walker is one of her favorite "new" toys. She does get tired of it much quicker than simple stationary toys and it probably has something to do with physical fatigue more than anything. Her little legs start shaking and she is done standing for a while... pretty funny.

Giggling has been the theme of the week. She has been giggling constantly, whether she is in the carrier with Shonna, playing in her pen, at a restaurant (with Penny and Jerry Tuesday), at her friends birthday party (Saturday afternoon with Caroline, Bonnie, and Mike) or in a crowd like we were Saturday late afternoon at "Vintage Crystal City" http://www.crystalcity.org/do/vintage-crystal1.


This week (or dare I say month) has been rough. My crazy month of work has coincided with Scarlett's blossoming into a little toddler. She has always had a lot of personality, but these days she is on fire! As Paul said, she is laughing constantly and is always playing little games. She also seems to really notice when we are gone and squeals with excitement (which quickly turns into a scream if you don't go to her immediately) when we get home. Those changes plus the physical strides make me feel like I am missing a LOT. Even though I typically rush home from work whenever possible to spend my evenings with the family, it feels like it goes by REALLY fast and I'm always extending bedtime just a little bit to get some extra time with her. I'm looking forward to next week once my last site visit for the month is over and I can take a few days off and spend some quality time with her. Jacy and family should also be up here by then, so I'm hoping to get some good time with everyone!

Scarlett started swimming lessons tonight at Washington-Lee High School (through Arlington County). Paul went in the water with her while I took video and watched from the sidelines. It looked like they were having fun and she was getting the hang of it, but it was really loud in there and a pretty big class, so I couldn't hear anything the instructor was saying! Paul said he couldn't hear very well either. Hopefully just being in the water will help!

She is getting so much stronger, even since last week. Paul mentioned that she started using her walker. Well, since she started using it a few days ago, she went from falling down because it went faster than she did to being able to control it really well and do lap after lap (after lap, after lap...) around the house. It's crazy to see how fast she picks things up. If only my muscles advanced as quickly as hers do!

Yea she really is getting stronger, especially now in the legs. Speaking of getting stronger, I hope the video is more focused on Scarlett and not my out of shape arse. I'll do some major editing... :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sorry for the delay...

Sorry Scarlett, we missed a couple of weekends! Well no need for excuses, so we will just fill everyone in. After the last post, Paul went out of town. He left us to go to a conference in scenic Montgomery, Alabama. It sounds bad, but apparently it has gotten pretty swanky -- he even went to an "ice bar". Paul left very early on a Sunday morning (the last Sunday in August) but the previous night he had a fantasy football draft, so Scarlett and I were essentially on our own from Saturday afternoon on. Saturday we ran a bunch of errands as a family before Paul had to leave. Once he left, it was pretty typical. Well, typical for any time that he is gone, which is totally atypical. She refused to go to sleep and once she finally did, she woke up every 10-15 minutes until about 12:45 AM. Sigh. Just in time for Paul to get home at 1:15 before leaving around 6 the next morning. It was a short night for everyone involved.

Despite the night time difficulties, Scarlett and I had a ton of fun together during the day, and we kept a pretty packed schedule. Sunday we went to brunch with Claire (we walked to Clarendon and back), Monday we went to Leila's grandfather's wake in Maryland, Tuesday we had dinner with Tina, and Wednesday we had dinner with Shannon for her birthday. Everything was great until it was time to put her to bed. Saturday night and Monday night involved Scarlett getting so worked up about going to bed that she vomited all over me and her room. The biggest problem with that situation is that at the very least I had to get her cleaned up, which meant that I had to bathe her and change her clothes, so she went from half asleep to wide awake and we got to start the process all over again. (There was also some carpet cleaning etc. involved.) Monday night was the worst, with an all-time record of 3 1/2 hours from when I started trying to put her to bed to when I finally got her to sleep for more than 10 minutes. I like to tell myself that it was just because she had too much fun with me and didn't want it to end, but realistically, I think it was the growth spurt and teething combo.

The whole single parent thing just doesn't agree with me. In addition to dreading bedtime and the typical hectic schedule of trying to do it all alone, Axel, our youngest pup was horrible while Paul was gone. His neurosis has gotten much worse and he was jumping the fence anytime I put him outside if I wasn't hovering. On multiple occasions I was running down the street barefoot with Scarlett in my arms, looking for the dog. I wasn't sure he was going to survive the week. Luckily, I figured out my system and didn't kill him before Paul got back on Thursday. The next day, Paul and I got a sitter and went out on a date. We went to a lebanese restaurant in Courthouse (which was delicious!) and then to the rooftop bar at Eventide in Clarendon. We met up with a few friends there before heading back to base. In the morning we walked to breakfast at our local french cafe and put Scarlett down for a nap before Bonnie and Caroline came down from Maryland. We had big plans of lunch and/or hiking until while at lunch, Scarlett had the biggest meltdown...EVER. We thought something was SERIOUSLY wrong with her. She was wailing and completely inconsolable. When Paul went to get the car, he said you could hear here 2 blocks away. We got the food to go and we were ready to drive straight to the emergency room when she suddenly stopped crying and went to sleep. I actually checked to make sure she was still breathing because it was such a sudden and dramatic transition. We were able to transition her to the crib without her waking up and after 20-30 minutes, she woke up like nothing had happened. Bizzare. We assumed she was just overtired and went on with life. After Bonnie and Caroline left, we ran some errands to get ready for my trip to Wisconsin. The next day we had Scarlett's 9-month (actually 10-month) photoshoot at the National Arboretum. It was absolutely beautiful there! Scarlett got to pet coy fish and play in a big wide-open field. I think we got some great shots, but it will be 4-6 weeks before we get them. I won't ruin the surprise by describing the shoot until the pictures are in... After the photo session, we headed up to Baltimore for Paul's family get together at his Aunt Cathy's house. We were a little early and very hungry, so we first stopped to get Flossy and grabbed lunch at the Peppermill. After lunch, we dropped Flossy off and Scarlett proceeded to have a repeat of the day before... Screaming and inconsolable! She kept trying to go to sleep but couldn't get comfortable. She screamed all the way to Cathy's where she finally stopped and acted like nothing ever happened. Sigh.

At Cathy's we had lots of great food, got to see all of the cousins, and Scarlett got to play with Jack and Cole, her cousins on Paul's dad's side. I'll let Paul describe the few little incidents we had, but overall, Scarlett was very happy and really enjoying the family. The next day was Labor day but despite it being a holiday, I had to go into the office all day to work with my friend Matt on the class that we are co-teaching that started this Saturday. After I got back, I packed my suitcase and left straight from work on Tuesday for a job observation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Paul wil have to catch you up on life as a single dad while I was gone.

Luckily, I got on an earlier flight on Thursday and headed straight from the airport to Scarlett's daycare to get a few extra minutes with her. I was practically sprinting to the door to get her and she seemed equally happy to see me. She kicked her arms and legs and hugged me for about 10 minutes straight until I finally had to put her in her car seat. It felt good that I wasn't the only one who was feeling the time apart! We went for a family walk around the neighborhood before stopping to buy her some new shoes at the local kids shoe store and going to the beer tasting before heading down the highway to our favorite sushi place for dinner. It was a perfect night (weather and otherwise) and made me VERY glad to be back. I had to work late again on Friday to get ready for the class and had to leave bright and early on Saturday morning to teach. It was heart breaking because on Saturday Scarlett got up before I left and cried really loudly when I left the room to go to work. Suddenly teaching the class didn't seem like such a good idea...

When I got back Saturday afternoon around 2 PM she was napping but we got her up to head downtown to the beer garden to meet with a few of Paul's friends, one of which has a baby only 4 months older than Scarlett. We had a great time and Scarlett loved playing with Miles' toys and all of the people watching. Once we got back we stopped at our annual neighborhood block party (more people watching and playing with ice for Scarlett) and then met up with Claire and Kyle to walk to dinner at the New Zealand cafe by our house. Dinner was great and Scarlett even took a short nap at the restaurant. Today I had to work most of the day (from home at least!) while Paul worked on making Scarlett's food for the week. Unfortunately, the rest of the month is horrible for me. I have two workshops this week (including Saturday) and then another one the following Thursday to Sunday. Unfortunately, that means the month is also pretty bad for Paul because he'll be carrying most of the parenting load. I'll also have a site visit in Charlotte, NC and Paul will have to work long hours at the end of the month (end of the fiscal year).

All of the business with work and travel has done two things for me. First, I REALLY appreciate my husband. I don't know how single moms or moms without active husbands do it, Teamwork makes a HUGE difference. Second, I've realized that I am only 1/2 functional when I'm away from my family. I'm completely preoccupied and in physical pain by the second day away from them. I was practically sprinting through the airport to get back to my car on Thursday because I kept thinking about getting Scarlett from daycare. Especially now that she notices when I'm gone, it is just really hard to be away. It's hard not to feel guilty when I leave for work, even though I really do feel that it is better for both of us in the long-term (I might say more about mommy guilt next week though!). In any case, I had a great time with just Scarlett and I while Paul was gone, but it didn't feel quite right and was much harder. I stayed busy and felt productive while I was on my own but was also very lonely and almost jealous when I'd hear Paul and Scarlett playing over the phone. All things considered, our little family isn't quite right unless all three of us are here, and I'm looking forward to October when things settle down.

In other news, I just checked Jacy's blog and I guess it's public knowledge now... Jacy and family are moving back to DC!!! Not only are they moving back, but they are moving back at the end of September. Obviously, we are SUPER excited! Jacy and I haven't lived in the same state in 11 years, so I am thrilled that now I'll get to see them all more and that Liam and Scarlett will get to grow up together. It has been a long time coming!!! WOO HOO!!!!! :D
Uhhhh well that pretty much sums it up! Nothing left to add... ;) Actually I will fill in some of the details from the past 2+ weeks. Of course I will start post Montgomery trip (BTW- an Ice Bar just doesn't work in Montgomery in the summer, especially when it is the size of a bedroom and people constantly flow in and out. Its kind of like a late autumn bar, luke warm.)

So Scarlett is getting pretty strong these days. Not sure if we mentioned this before, but we have an iron gym pull up bar above the living room door (yes, kind of tacky, but we have no where else to put it!) She LOVES grabbing the bars to try and pull herself up. Believe it or not, she can hang there unassisted for a second or two. She really does try to pull herself up, and with a little assistance, she gets the job done. The first time we tried it, we did it to be funny. Much to our surprise, when we lowered her from the bar, she would raise her arms to get back up. Fascinating. Now its a game, and its to the point where we barely have to assist her and she gets herself up. Well, all of this strength training took a turn for the worse while we were at my aunt Cathy's. Cathy currently has 2 daughters (3 when college is out), and 2 other girls living in the house. One of the "other" girls has a daughter named Nessa (not sure the spelling). Scarlett loves older babies, and took to her immediately. They both sat there, played and hugged each other for quite a while. The problem came when Nessa was sitting on a picnic bench on the deck. Scarlett wanted to visit her new best friend, and thought it would be a good idea to pull herself up and say "hi". After she pulled herself up, she intended to touch Nessa to see whats up. To see how everything was going. Instead, she lost her balance slightly, grabbed her by the shirt and flipped her off the bench. YIKES. I was on the other side of the screen door and watched the whole thing unfold. Nessa to her credit made a perfect self-defense fall, tucked her head and landed on her upper back. Pretty impressive actually! I remember spending hours in class perfecting such a fall, and instinctively, Nessa did it on her first try without a thought. After the initial shock of flipping off of a stationary bench while minding her own business, Nessa was back to normal in 30 seconds. Sorry Nessa! Love, Scarlett...

Scarlett has more fun now than I think she ever has before, and she wants everyone to join in. You see this when we are out to eat (she scans the room looking for eye contact. Once they engage, its all over.) You see this when we are walking down the neighborhood. Constantly looking to show off. But lately she is having more and more fun solo. I think we mentioned this before, but if she could sit in the shower all day with her toys she would. Once we turn on the shower, she starts squirming in our arms and she starts crying if we have the audacity to spend a few minutes letting the water temperature stabilize, or god forbid we spend 30 seconds to take off her clothes and diaper before putting her in the shower. However, once she is in, its all over. We could literally take a 2 hour nap and she would still be there, hanging out under the water, playing with her duck and scratching the drain (no we haven't left her alone for the record, but we could!) Taking her out of the shower is the tricky part. The best way is for me to be in the bathroom and have Shonna come in later. That way she is so happy to see her mommy, that she forgets about how fun the shower is. By the time she realizes it, TOO LATE.

Now she has taken the solo play to her play area. If she is focused, she will spend an hour simply going from toy to toy (and as long as there is something for her to munch on, even longer). She used to have one favorite toy that varied from week to week, but the problem with having just one is she would get tired of it. Currently she has at least 5 or 6 toys in her rotation, and they can keep her busy for hours. She loves it in her play area. If we are away from the house for a day and we walk towards it, she lunges towards the gate and starts grabbing toys. As a matter of fact, I had her out by the couch on Friday, and she actually crawled over to the gate pulled herself up, and tried to climb in, lifting her right leg half way up the door. Hilarious! I of course obliged, and lifted her in. She was good until nap time....

Well, I think that's all I will force you to read. A long post after a long hiatus. I will add one last nugget. Scarlett loves lemons. The first time she tried one, she made the bitter face, waited 30 seconds, and ate it again. Now she is to the point where it hardly phases her. Like its just another fruit. We don't give her lemons often, but when we do, its entertainment... kind of like everything else lately. Did I mention peek-a-boo? She is now better at it than we are....