Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Start of 2014

1:36 AM on New Year Morning 2014

Please note that Matt is in Madeleine's bed.

Happy New Year!

2013 was an amazing year.
Good luck to 2014.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Our Bedroom Days 27-29

Day 27 - Favorite Holiday Food

I know that hot chocolate isn't a food,
but since moving here I've been informed multiple times that hot chocolate is just a seasonal thing.
Our food storage now consist of hot chocolate and mashed potatoes.

Day 28 - "Baby it's cold outside"

After growing up in Florida for 8 years...
I only wear socks when it's really cold outside.
Honestly though, we've been having pretty wonderful weather here in NJ.

Day 29 - Warmth

For some reason this made me think of our room.
So I'm going to give you a tour.

(Despite the fact we have a huge tv...we rarely use it. Maybe once a month?)

Matt and I purposely picked the room with the smaller closet.

Our "Evil Lair" sign.

Basically we decided anything that wasn't baby proof went into our bedroom.
So the TV and the bookshelves ended up in here.
I actually kind of like how crowded it is.
It has a pretty cozy feel to it compared to the openness of the rest of the house.
It also happens to be one of the warmer rooms in the apartment too.

(If you want to see our first master bedroom click here.)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tiny turns 1

I love birthdays.
I may have rushed Christmas a bit, because I was so excited for her birthday.
Maybe I was a bit more excited than usual
 because I was able to keep her alive for a year
or maybe because I just really love cake,
but I had been planning her birthday for months.

We started the day off with breakfast in bed. 
I made pancakes with cream cheese whipped cream and berries.
It was so delicious and it ended up tasting like cake.

(I forgot to take a picture before we stared eating it, but here's one before Madeleine put her hand in it.)

We let Madeleine have four or five bites before stripping her down and putting her on the floor.
We were expecting her to dive right in with her hands,
but she sat there trying to use the fork for a while.
Montessori win!!

Matt plopped her in the bath and we got ready to go to Philadelphia.
Right as we were going to leave the UPS guy showed up at the door with two huge boxes for Madeleine.
We figured we could open them before we left.
We opened the first box and there was a toy doll house. 
Madeleine was so thrilled she climbed on top of the box and wouldn't let us take it out.
She was even able to punch a hole through the plastic!

There aren't any photos of us in Philadelphia, because I forgot my camera card.
It was wonderful though.
We stopped by IKEA really fast for lunch and a birthday present,
before driving home and walking around Princeton's campus.

When we got home, we quickly fed Tiny before eating cake.
We had made castle cakes for her birthday.
We used left over whipped cream from our breakfast to put under the cakes
so that it looked like the castles were sitting on clouds.

Matt had been reading Madeleine this book for the last few months.

It's a wonderful story, so we decided to make cakes inspired by it.

We lit the candle again and after blowing it out, we all dug in.

Madeleine just started by eating all of the towers off the castle.
After cake it was time for presents.
Most of the presents she got on Christmas from us were from the dollar store.
I saved all my favorites for her birthday.

She started getting better at the whole unwrapping thing.

(I got her a crayon roll and a puzzle both off of etsy.)
 But my very favorite was still to come.
We stuck it on the floor.

She knew exactly what to do.
As soon as she had pulled that tissue paper out, she grabbed the bear straight out.
But see this isn't just any bear.
It was made by this local stay at home mom.
Madeleine and I went over and dropped off Madeleine's newborn clothes a week or so ago.
We got to pick it up on Monday.
It's so beautiful, and I loved seeing Madeleine's newborn clothes being used.
They are full of so many memories that happened a year ago.
I might do a whole blog post on it by itself.
I love it that much, and thankfully Madeleine does too.
She has been carrying it around nonstop.

Matt then finished reading Castle in the Air and put her to bed, before putting together her last gift.

We actually woke Madeleine up when he was done putting it together.
We were pretty excited. :)

Happy Birthday Madeleine.
We love you!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

1 year

Day 26 of the photo challenge is "gift." 

Now she's not quite as tiny but it's mind-boggling how different she is.
When she was first born, she didn't do much.
She was actually quite boring.
Now she's anything but.

She's 19.3 lbs

This month she's learned how to...

Get out of her chair
Play on her own
Identify facial features
Copy sounds
Throw and push a ball
Sit at a table
Drink from a straw

She now brings books up to us and makes "rawwwr" sounds until we start reading to her.
She tackles us and removes every cord from our computers or lamps.
She pokes our eyes and mouths and makes random sounds.

She says "duck".
It's her only word.
We put a lot of effort into that. Every time she had a bath, we made a big fuss about her green rubber duck. And now, every time she sees the duck, she gets super excited and sings, "Duck, duck, duck, duck" over and over again. We still have to iron out a few kinks. She thinks that all small green objects are ducks. She also thinks that all non-human animals are ducks (with the exception of dogs; that might be her second word.) And sometimes when she feels like it, she just lets a few "duck"s out for no reason. I guess it must feel very liberating when babies begin picking up language. Madeleine's grown up listening to us chattering away, and now it's her turn! Now, if she can just learn "mama" or "dada" or "I'm about to blow out so please quarantine me", I think we'll be in business.

That said, she still does babble "mama" and "dada" a lot, but she doesn't seem to confine it to one particular parent or object (exception: when she is terribly upset, she cries "mumum" pathetically until Michele comes).

Even though Tiny isn't so big on the whole word thing, she has no issue with communicating.
When she's hungry, she kneels on the kitchen floor and "yumms".
When she's tired, she grabs her blanket and rubs it against her face.
She points.
She brings us books.
She pats us when she wants our attention.
She gives hugs and kisses.
It's so cute and I love knowing what she wants...
until she gets impatient and screams.

She loves stuffed animals and pictures of herself.
She thinks she is awesome.
She walks around the house with her mirror and kisses herself until she can't see her reflects thanks to the drool.
There is this one photo right above the couch that she likes to grab too.
She sits there and takes it down and points over and over and over at her eyes and mouth.

She still loves bathes, cookies, and the color green.
She loves anything that makes noise especially bells.
We have several different types of musical instruments for her
so we often wake up to the sound of her hitting her drum or shaking her maraca.
Her favorite ornament was the jiggle bells we had on the tree.

She's down to one nap that we are trying to move to the afternoon.
She moving pretty much all the time now.
Going room to room.
But she always comes back looking for us with a huge smile on her face.

I'm so happy that she is in our family.
She's such a joy.
We had an amazing day together as a family celebrating her birthday.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Madeleine's First Christmas

Our Christmas Eve started off with an impromptu Christmas cookie party at 2 AM.
Around midnight I woke up and then poked Matt awake.
Madeleine even woke up to join us.

We put on Christmas music and made ribbon and snickerdoodle cookies!

Madeleine quickly figured out the joy of cookie dough.

The next morning we all slept in quite a bit.
When we woke up, Matt wanted to do the same thing we did last year
...eat at Outback for Christmas Eve dinner.
So off we went, but it was closed for lunch so we went across the street to Red Robin.
I've been wanting a hamburger from there for a while.
Madeleine finally learned how to use a straw a few weeks ago,
so we gave her plenty of practice.

And of course we got her a milkshake.
She absolutely loved it.

After that we went and walked around Princeton,
before going to a little holiday party in our complex.
We came home and opened one present each.

Madeleine wasn't too big on the opening present thing.
Matt had to help her quite a bit.

 But she seemed to like what was inside!

Matt read her a book and we just goofed off on our computers and talked to rest of the night.

This morning we woke up at 8:30.
I actually got up early and wanted to open gifts earlier, but Tiny wasn't awake yet.

First of all, we woke up to a white Christmas!
What a great gift. :)

Then we put Madeleine in front of her gifts.
She still had no idea what to do with them but Matt coached her through it.
It was so cute watching her.
She would get completely enthralled in each gift she unwrapped,
so we would have to take it away so that she would open the next gift.

After we were all done with that Matt made us a great breakfast and we all jumped in bed to watch Tangled.

I have no idea what we are doing for the rest of the day,
but the last few days have been great!
We are so grateful for the time we have together as a family to celebrate Christ's birthday.
It's been splendid.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What Not to do for Christmas Photos

Doesn't this photo look great?
I saw her tutorial on pinterest (found here) and immediately thought
"Oh yeah, I can totally take photos by myself."

Famous last words right?
I found my inspiration on pinterest
Made a cute little sign.
Picked a place and outfits.
Now just to get Matt home to take the photos
and we would have Christmas cards out by December 1st.


If only I knew.

Attempt #1
I made a big point to Matt about how I needed him to get home by 4 so we could get the Christmas photos done.
It was a pretty big deal since he isn't usually done until at least 6,
but since sunset was at 5, we need photos done between 4-5.

Meanwhile, I spent the whole day on finishing touches.
I realized about half way through the day that we were missing a few things,
so I ran to Walmart...two days before Thanksgiving.
What was I thinking??
At 3:45, I'm running through Walmart as everyone points at Madeleine in her big poofy dress.
"Yes, I know my baby doesn't have socks on. She bites them off."
"Yes, she's in a big poofy dress, but sorry, we have to go before we're late for the sun!"

At 4:15, I barely out of the Walmart parking lot thanks to traffic.

Tip #1: Don't go to Walmart before a photo shoot 2 days before Thanksgiving

I pulled into our apartment at 4:30 where Matt had set everything up.
(He didn't even point out that he was the one on time and I was the one late after I harassed him so much.)
I tried a few practice shots.

A practice shot

I was thrilled.
The lighting looked great.
All we had to do was pose.

We got one family photo...
and then my camera battery started flashing!
It was dead.
I just about cried.
I thought I had charged it.

Tip #2: Charge your camera battery

Matt felt pretty bad for me so he said some comforting words and went back to work.

Attempt #2
That Sunday we tried again.
Matt wasn't on a time crunch, so we figured it was a great time to take photos.
We got all dressed up again.
Set everything up and took the practice photo.

This time the shadows were just too sharp.

I was so frustrated.

Tip #3: Check what time the sun goes down the day you take photos.

Matt again said some encouraging words and we went inside.

Attempt #3
Matt came home early again.
This time at 3 giving us plenty of time before sundown.
We went out and set up, but again the shadows looked awful.
I was going to get these pictures one way or another,
so we moved to the trees by our house.

We set the tripod up and started taking photos.

We got a few taken.
But then Madeleine started acting up.
So Matt still being supportive decided to cheer her up.

Tip #4: Supportive husband and chocolate are a must.

We got back to taking photos,
but then I trip over the tripod and landed on my thumb.
Matt immediately thought I broke it,
but I was determined to get at least one photo!!

Tip #5: Don't sprain your thumb taking photos.
Tip #6: Don't trip over the tripod.

So we take a few of Madeleine before walking in the house defeated.

We did end up with this cute Christmas photo,
but by this point the whole experience wasn't something I wanted to remember any of this,
so we ended up doing a completely different photo shoot inside the house.
It was a lot easier and we got to eat cookies.