Jun 30, 2010

a day (or an hour) at the park

Today was Cara's first trip to the park.  We are lucky to live down the street from a great playground with a pond and nature trails, and it was a perfect day to be outside; after a long string of 100 degree days, today was overcast and just above 80.  Fantastic.

When I first put her down and gave her the go-ahead, my girl was a little unsure of what she should do.  She just stood there for a solid minute before she could decide where to go first.  She chose to head in the direction of four little boys who were around 6 years old.  The little boys ate her up!  They wanted to hold her hand and help her walk, and one of them told me, "She is just so pretty!"  (Flash forward 15 years...will I still think it is cute for a boy to tell me that my daughter is pretty?)  When the little boys left, they each gave her twelve hugs.  It was absolutely adorable.

Cara really enjoyed the slide.  I helped her slide down, and she laughed and laughed.  She also wanted to eat a stick she found at the bottom.

Playing at the park completely wore my girl out!  All she needed was a quick sip before she headed off to napland. 

Overall, it was a perfect morning for both of us.  Cara got to have some serious fun at the park, and I got three hours of naptime! :-)

Jun 24, 2010

letting go (just a little)

Okay, so my CaraBear is walking.  Like, really walking all by herself.  On the one hand, I am soo proud of her.  She was barely taking two or three hesitant steps, and then she stood up and walked across the room while her mama stared, drop-jawed.  On the other hand, this is one more thing she doesn't need me for anymore.  It's one more step towards No Longer A Baby. 

In reality, she's been taking rapid steps towards No Longer A Baby for the past few weeks.  She has dropped all her bottles except the bedtime bottle; she drinks her "milk" from a sippy cup during the day most of the time.  She doesn't need me to rock her sleep either.  In fact, I think she would rather I just lay her down so that she can get comfortable a little faster.  She rolls over and tucks her arms and legs underneath her body and sticks that little tush up.  It's precious.  She has even started to play by herself.  Sometimes, she goes into her room and pulls every book off her shelf and reads them.  Again, totally precious (especially to me as an English teacher), but it's one more way that she is becoming more and more independent.

My newborn-mama-self (I had sort of a rough time those first four months or so) would say, "Are you really complaining?  All of that sounds AWESOME!  Your blob is becoming a human being!"  To that I now say, of course, I am thrilled to see my girl developing as she should.  I am so excited for her every time she hits a milestone or learns something new.  But, it all feels like it's happening so fast.  I want to slow time down just a little bit, keep her close and snuggled just a little longer.  However, I know this is the time for her to begin exploring the world a little more and to soak it all up like a cute little sponge.  It's just tough when she lets go of my finger to walk ahead of me.

Jun 23, 2010

growing up

My baby girl is now a toddler.

Jun 15, 2010

a day in the life

I am absolutely loving being home with my girl this summer!  I expressed this sentiment to a friend, and she asked, "What do you do all day?"  I fumbled a little for exactly *what* I do all day, so I decided to document my adventures with Cara today.  Here's what we did:

We hung out with Daddy before he left for work.

We ate breakfast.

We read some books and played with toys.

Cara took a nice, long nap.  Then, we ate lunch and practiced using our forks.

Then, the real fun began because we went outside to play in Cara's playhouse!

We went swimming.

We played in the swing.

We went on a walk around the yard (while keeping hydrated).

By this time, Cara and I were both worn out!  So we took a nap.  When we woke up, we read some more books.

We played with toys some more.

We played peekaboo in the curtains.

We chased Gabby.

We looked through the cookbooks to decide what to cook for dinner.

Cara was sad that Mommy had to cook instead of play.

But Daddy came home to watch "Elmo" with Cara until dinner was ready.

We ate dinner. 

Of course, after dinner there were baths, stories, and bedtime.  Fun days like today are quite exhausting.  It's going to be tough to head back to work in August.

Jun 10, 2010

five years

PJ and I just had our five year anniversary.  At this point, I suppose I should say something contemplative and sentimental like, "I never thought we'd make it here" or "I can't believe it's really been five years," but that's stupid.  When we got married, I knew we would make it here, and I know we will make it "until death do us part."  Love and commitment are choices we make (or don't make) as partners.  There are days when we don't like each other or when things are just hard, but I know deep in my heart that PJ and I will both make the decision to love each other and stay committed to each other EVERY SINGLE DAY.  So, what's five years?  For us, it was a really good excuse to take a short vacation to the beach without the baby. 

PJ does an amazing job of finding good deals.  He spends an inordinate amount of time researching and comparing prices until he finds what he believes is the highest value for the lowest price.  I think he outdid himself this time.  Not only did he score a super low rate for a luxury, oceanfront condo, but we got upgraded to a three-bedroom when we checked in.  I couldn't believe how totally awesome this condo was.  I felt like someone was going to knock on the door and politely tell us that we were in the wrong place.  We *almost* called some friends to come join us in the extra bedrooms...almost. :-)

the view from the balcony

the living room/kitchen

As much as I love my girl, it was really, really nice to spend some time with my husband and by myself.  I think PJ and I needed to remember what we are like when we are not chasing Cara around the house.  I decided that he is still a fun, sarcastic, smart, and really attractive guy.  I hope he decided something similar about me! :-)

While we laid on the beach and by the pool, Baby Cara got totally spoiled by three of her grandmamas and her great aunt Lisa.  She's one lucky girl.  She also got to play with her cousin Evelyn, who has CHARGE syndrome.  Miss Evelyn may be tiny, but she is sassy and refused to allow her younger cousin to steal her toys.  I witnessed one of these epic battles, and it was hilarious to watch Evelyn stand her ground and hang on to her toy. 

Cara and Evelyn playing next to each other

I am so thankful that Me-Maw, Grandmama Ruby, and Bitsy were all there to take care of my girl so that PJ and I could spend some time together.  Even though Baby Cara had a fabulous time with her grandmamas, she was happy to get home. 

Jun 2, 2010

batteries recharged

I think the end of the school year has got to be my second favorite time of year, right behind Christmas.  For at least the past three weeks, I have felt a HUGE burden of paperwork on my shoulders and I truly wondered if I was capable of getting everything done.  Was there enough time in the day?  Should I stop sleeping?  Maybe if I get up at 4:30 instead of 5:30...(I stopped myself there.  That's crazy talk.) 

Fortunately, I managed to get everything done.  In fact, at this moment, I have nothing school related to do, which made dinner with two of my besties tonight even more awesome.  We do this pretty regularly, and most of the time I bring Cara with, but she stayed home with Daddy tonight.  Even though I love my girl to the moon and back, it's definitely nice to have dinner with my friends and actually listen to them, especially when they have new, exciting things going on in their lives. 

I have a bad habit of allowing myself to get caught up in mommy and teacher and forgetting to be "Jessica."  (I am quite sure that my husband would appreciate it if I would be "Jessica" a little more often!)  I think this might be a common problem, perhaps the first step towards the dreaded "letting yourself go," and I just cannot allow myself to be that frumpy, frazzled person!  I think it comes down to finding ways to recharge the batteries.  For me, girltime at Panera seems to work.  Love you M and J.  Batteries recharged.
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