Monday, April 7, 2014

{Miss Maylin} 12 Months Old

This is my last monthly update on my Maylin baby. So many things have changed since I began these monthly updates on my old blog. They've been so fun to do, and I'm glad I have a record of the first year of Maylin's life. It's unbelievable how much a baby grows and develops, both physically and mentally, in the course of its first life. I truly couldn't fathom the way Maylin is now when she was snuggled up to me at one week old. I'm not too terribly sad that these updates are ending, because let's be honest, getting her to take posed photos during the past few months has been more than a little frustrating. In fact, it's been downright impossible. I much prefer that thrill of getting a perfect candid these days. And by perfect I mean not blurry. If she happens to be looking in the direction of the camera lense then that's bonus. I take what I can get.

Miss Maylin, at 12 months old you::

~ have two bottom teeth, no top teeth yet, that we brush during bathtime. You can hold your own toothbrush and gnaw on it to get all those germies out. Brushing your teeth is one of your favorite things to do.
~ love to brush your hair. Or rather, love to have me brush your hair. You've recently grown hair on the back of your head that is just long enough to get a little crazy after naptimes. In order to coax it back down, we brush. I think it's calming to you because you'll allow me to brush it for several minutes while you're sitting still. Which is a rarity nowadays. Also, you've started "brushing" the hair of your animals when you play.
~ love to read books. You will bring me a book to read and crawl in my lap. You love pointing to the pictures in the book and saying "ba!" {your all-time favorite expression}, and you also are very adept at turning the pages. I've even found you looking through books all by yourself during play time.

~ are not walking yet, although you walk like a pro behind your walker, or when someone is holding your hands, or when you're pushing your activity table across the floor. You've taken one step with one foot on several occasions, but you have yet to make forward progress with two feet. I'm predicting within the next month we'll have a perfectly able little walker on our hands.
~ are great at standing. When I put you on the ground you lock your knees to land on your feet instead of sitting on your bottom. Then you stand in that spot for a good while until you decide you're ready to move, which you then do by crawling. Sometimes Gollum style {you can watch that movie when you're older to get the reference}, sometimes in the regular fashion.
~ can point to your belly button, mouth, and eyes when asked. You can also point out these features on your babies and animals. We're currently working on pointing to your feet, ears, and nose.
~ can make the sound of a puppy when asked. Pretty sure you picked this up from big brother {aka frenemy} Deuce. I never consistently tried to teach you this sound, you kind of just started doing it one day. Of course, the sound you make is not the traditional "ruff ruff," but rather an open-mouthed "hah, hah, hah, hah" to simulate a panting dog. This is what makes me believe you picked this up all on your own from big brother. I know I would have taught you to say "ruff ruff." It wouldn't have occured to me to teach you a panting noise.
~ have quite the relationship with objects. Whether it be a stuffed animal, a baby doll, a plastic figurine. You choose one by pointing in the morning when I get you out of your crib, and you're liable to hold on to it the entire day. 
~ can hug said object when prompted "Can you give the puppy some loving?"
~ can find and point to/crawl to your baby, puppy, bear, blanket, book, Daniel Tiger, passy, bottle, Deuce, rocking horse, light, Daddy, and Mama.
~ recognize the phrases: {1} Are you ready to get down? {2} Change a diaper {3} Are you ready for a nap? {4} Do you want a bottle? {5} Where is..... {6} No, No ma'am, Don't... {7} Are you done? 

~ still aren't saying any recognizable words, although you can shake your head no and point to whatever you want. Which accounts for about 80% of your communication needs.
~ wear size 3 diapers.
~ wear size 9-12 months clothes, some 6 month dresses you can still wear as a top. You can also still wear 6 month onesies because they fit your torso. Your legs do not fit in 6 month pjs or leggings anymore.
~ weigh 19 pounds!!!! Woo Hoo!!! 
~ nap two times daily, for about an hour and a half in the morning and afternoon. 
~ sleep from 6:30-7:00 PM to 7:30 AM. And your daddy and I love you for it.
~ eat three solid meals a day, plus drink four 6-8 oz bottles of organic whole milk.
~ stayed overnight at your Emme and Papa's house twice. Both times you slept great with little to no fussing.

Oh Maylin. I have loved your first year. I can't wait to see how much you grow and change over the next twelve months. It will be just as astounding, I'm sure. I love you, my Maylin girl.

Friday, April 4, 2014

{Miss Maylin} First Birthday Party

The day of Maylin's birthday party was exciting for us, perhaps just as exciting as her actual birthday. It was so fun to be able to celebrate with our family and close friends. That's the thing about our little community- we have a close group of "bosom friends" {as Anne Shirley would say} that we do life with. We are so thankful for them. It's enjoyable to watch our girls grow up together, and for us moms {and dads} to share experiences and get advice from each other.

We are also blessed to have a supportive family on both sides. It's so neat to watch Maylin interact with my own grandparents and other members of our extended family. I love watching her relationship grow with my and Michael's parents, too. My parents spent the day with us entertaining Maylin while Michael and I set up for the afternoon party. We couldn't have done it without them!

We have a small sunroom in the back of our house where we decided to set up the food and the high chair for the smash cake. The weather was mild, so we were able to leave the door open to the house to let in the breezes. This kind of weather only happens for about a month in the Spring before it gets too hot, so we had to take advantage while we could.

Pinterest served me well for the brainstorming and executing of Maylin's party. I used a very simple tutorial to create the crepe paper streamer banner that went over the food table. I bought the crepe paper, table cloth,  and artificial daisies from the dollar store. I was really pleased with how the look turned out for such a small amount of money.

The place cards for the food were handmade by a friend who has her own invitation design business. She can pretty much do anything, and I am always so pleased with her work. She made Maylin's invitations, the name cards, the ONE glitter letters on the high chair, and a bunting banner that hung in our house. 

I used small mason jars that I already owned {bought years before with the intention of jarring salsa... that never happened} and tied a bit of jute around the lip to display the silverware. The guest cake, cupcakes, and Maylin's smash cake were strawberry with cream cheese icing.

I decided to have a fruit pizza bar, and I think this was the hit of the party. My mom made sugar cookies using Pioneer Woman's recipe, and "frosting" made of cream cheese whipped with marshmallow cream. Top with fresh fruit. There are no words to describe how good these were. 

The bunting banner above the table is the banner my friend made. I love it. I even decided to save it for future parties or showers, or maybe to even decorate in one of the girls' rooms. Who knows?!

I found these adorable bows and headbands for a steal and decided to make these the party favors. For some reason, all the babies in Maylin's little Sunday School class are girls, so by default there were no little boys invited to the party. Therefore I felt it okay to offer such a feminine party favor. Each little guest got to choose her own bow, clip, or headband.  The bows were displayed on an apothecary chest I found a couple years ago when I was antiquing in Colorado with Michael's aunt. I've always had aspirations of decorating with it in our home, but so far it's sat unused in a box. Until the party. It brings back fond memories of our time vacationing in Colorado, so I was happy to pull it out to use.

I DIYed this chalkboard when I was pregnant with Maylin to do weekly bump pictures, and it has been handy many times since then. 

I took all those monthly photographs of Maylin for her baby book and to keep up with her first year of growth, and then decided to make a banner to display them for her party. I used washi tape I found in the dollar bin to coat the clothespins.

Besides seeing Maylin interact with all her friends, my favorite part of the afternoon was the smash cake. I loved watching Maylin dig in to the thick frosting and get her first taste of refined sugar. This was also one of the only moments of the party that Maylin wasn't crying.

I made the fabric banner using this tutorial, and it turned out even better than I imagined. I'm planning on using this banner to hang over Hartlie's crib after Maylin moves to her new room. The tulle I found at the dollar store for $1 a roll, then referenced this tutorial to make the tutu for the high chair. The only difference is that I tied the tulle to jute instead of elastic.

For the cake smashing, Maylin wore a tutu from Halloween, her birthday headband, and a set of old pearls I had from high school.

And now, for the endless, almost identical pictures of Maylin enjoying her cake.

I always love watching Maylin interact with her little friends. The two beauties above are friends Alice and Mia, also born last March. I've enjoyed so much sharing with Judith and Brandi the first year with our babies, watching them grow and mature and become little people. I can't wait for a childhood full of birthday parties with these three!

Here is the {Drama Queen} birthday girl with all her little friends: Alice, Anniston, Shelby, and Mia. This was the best picture I got of them together. It's perfect because it showcases all their little personalities perfectly!

Maylin's first birthday party far exceeded my expectations. It makes me excited about planning next year's party!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

{Miss Maylin} Happy First Birthday!

** I decided to split Maylin's birthday into two posts, one about her actual birthDAY and another detailing her birthday party. Warning:: posts are picture-heavy! Naturally. Be prepared to scroll. And scroll and scroll and scroll.

Michael and I anticipated Maylin's birthday for a couple months before it arrived. I think we're both pretty emotional and sentimental as parents, so we planned for quite a while for this day. I remember Instagramming a picture in January after I'd returned from the store with things for her party. January, y'all. That's how long we've been waiting for her birthday. I wrote in this post about my emotions leading up to The Day, if you'd care to read. Today's post will mainly be about the events of her birthday.

I've never been that big of a "birthday person." I don't attach a lot of worth to celebrating my personal birthday, and it's been a struggle for me to plan and prepare for Michael's birthday over the course of our marriage {I'm sorry to say}. However, things are so different with my child. I wanted her birthday to be super special, probably mainly more for my sake than for hers because she's never going to remember what we did, or what she felt, or what her first birthday was like. But I will. I think that alone made me want to give her a unique day.

Michael and I both went upstairs that morning to wake her up. Usually just one of us wakes her while the other gets her morning bottle ready, but we both wanted to see our girl wake up as a one year old. I made birthday oatmeal for breakfast for her- a mixture of steel cut oats, vanilla yogurt, and this vitamin powder {which I just started using and I love, and Maylin does too}. I topped the oatmeal with a few blueberries and a spattering of sprinkles. And of course, a single birthday candle. We sang "Happy Birthday" to her and "all three" of us blew out her candle. I was feeling festive that morning, so I allowed her to eat the oatmeal by herself with her fingers, which she's always wanted to do, but I'm too much of a neat/control freak to let her. Oatmeal and sprinkles were everywhere! So birthday bath time commenced.

I dressed her in her special "birthday dress" I purchased back in June on major sale from a local children's boutique. It's been hanging in her closet ever since, and I've been dying to get her in it. I'm glad I waited though, because once she was wearing it she looked so grown up. I'd also saved this white flower headband especially for her birthday. I received it as a shower gift when I was still pregnant with Maylin, and again, decided to wait until her birthday to put it on her. I mean, it's slightly larger than headbands she normally wears, so I felt it necessitated a special occasion to be pulled off properly. {Also, I love baby fashion, so planning her birthday outfit months in advance was just icing on my proverbial cake. No shame here.}

Then, obviously, when your daughter is having her first birthday and you dress her in a party dress you've been waiting months for her to wear, the next course of action is a photo shoot in the nursery. Because, first birthday. And because, pink seersucker cupcake embroidered party dress. 

I took Maylin with me to a local florist to have helium put in the balloons for her birthday party the next day. The sweet ladies in the store swooned over Maylin and gave her a complimentary birthday balloon. Maylin was beside herself. She loved that balloon and would not let it go. She talked to it in the car seat all the way back to the house, which was just adorable. That's the balloon in the top two pictures. We have such nice people in our small town, and it made me feel great that they wanted to give Maylin something special since it was her birthday. It was totally unexpected and unplanned, which made it all the more memorable and touching.

Michael was able to get off work a little early, around mid-afternoon, since it was a Friday. We saved doing the main "birthday activities" until then. When he got home, we let Maylin open the presents from us and one that was sent in the mail to her by Michael's cousin.

Maylin loves the television show Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood on PBS. It's really all I allow her to watch since she's still so young, but this show has great lessons for small children and no hidden agendas or bad attitudes from the characters. It's a spin off of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, and it's been fun to recognize some of the characters I remember as a child. Anyway, Michael had the brilliant idea to get Maylin a toy Trolley and little characters from the show. Brilliant, I tell you. Her eyes lit up when she saw that she could touch and hold the "real" Daniel Tiger. The Trolley even dings when you push it. You can see in the picture below she clutched that little tiger even while she opened the remainder of her gifts!

I gave Maylin a baby doll with a bib, pacifier, and bottle. Every little girl needs a baby doll, and I especially wanted Maylin to have one early so she could practice "feeding" and "loving" and "being sweet" to the baby before little sister makes her appearance and upends Miss Maylin's tiny little world.  

I'm pretty impressed with the way she's taken to the baby already. She caught on quickly to the concept that the bottle goes in the baby's mouth. Although sometimes Maylin puts the bottle in her own mouth! I can say, "Maylin, can you give the baby her bottle?" and she'll Gollum crawl over to the baby and touch the bottle to its mouth. It's precious. And gives me great hope for our "real" baby that will be here in less than 9 weeks.

Maylin's favorite part of opening the presents was the tissue paper. She loved flinging it away from the gifts. I think she would've played with that tissue paper all day! Here's an action shot.

After opening presents we took Maylin to a local frozen yogurt bar as a treat. This was her first taste of anything this sweet. I swirled a small amount of strawberry and vanilla yogurt in her cup. Sister was hooked from the first taste! It was so fun watching her eat that yogurt! After every bite she'd bounce up and down, waving her hands in the air, and saying "mmmmmm"  until she got another. That may have been the highlight of the whole day for me.

After froyo we spent the remainder of the afternoon in the front yard while Michael did some yard work. The day was warm, the sun was shining, the colors were beautiful. Maylin played in the grass with her Daniel Tiger until time to go inside.

Look how close this girl is to walking! She plants her feet and leans forward as far as she can, but she WILL NOT take that first step! She doesn't like the idea of picking up that foot and scooting it forward. I was so hoping she would take her first steps on her first birthday, but alas, it was not to be. I have a feeling in the next couple of weeks she'll be walking. I can't wait to take her walking down the driveway to check the mail. For some reason, that's what I'm looking forward to most.

Finally, I have to document how sweet she's already being to her baby, although the infatuation with the baby's bottle is quite evident. I dearly hope she's this sweet to baby sister, too.

Happy First Birthday, Miss Maylin! This year has been more than I ever hoped for and better than my wildest dreams. You are my sunshine, my light, my joy. I love you, baby girl!