Monday, June 29, 2009

Thirty-Three, Baby!

I'm feeling pretty good about this 33 thing. It's such a balanced, symmetrical number. I think that's going to be my theme for the year: a life in balance. Balance has never been my strong suit, but I'm getting better at it!

My birthday this year was an all-day party planned by yours truly. After all, who better to know exactly what I want? And it was fabulous!

I started the day with an early morning run with my friends, Chelle and Catherine. It was a cool, golden morning and we had a great time.

After our run, I headed up to Pentagon City for some serious pampering at one of my favorite places: Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa. Their signature pedicure is ridiculously expensive and ridiculously good--it's a massage and pedicure all in one. Heaven.

My pretty, pampered tootsies!

I took my happy feet back home and then we dropped Tess off at my friend Brandi's house, so I could have a date with Ry. He planned this part, and he did a great job! We went to brunch at a delicious new place I've been wanting to try, Bistro L'Hermitage, and then we took in a movie and saw "Up!"

The love of my life!

Later that night, I met some friends at Tropical Smoothie Cafe for frozen treats. A lot of people couldn't make it, but we had a good time anyway. Except for Chelle, who unknowingly ordered the Fat Buster smoothie and was bouncing off the walls all night long (can we say CAFFEINE?!).

My cute friends:
Stephanie, Chery, Sharon, Me
Chelle, Caroline, Juanita & Brandi

After smoothies, my friend Stephanie treated me to a late night chick flick: The Proposal. Yep, I hadn't seen a movie in 18 months, and I saw 2 in the same day! I rolled into bed after 1:00 am--with the prospect of 9:00 am church looming over me. I'm not as young as I used to be.

But the partying still wasn't over! Sunday, we went had dinner at Wendy & Keith's house. Dinner was so good and Tess had a great time showing off her walking skills to Nana & Papa.

I got some great presents too: a pink purse (which I've been dying for!) from my mom; a neat journaling book to record my running goals and accomplishments from Maureen; a generous donation from Keith & Wendy, which I plan to put towards some new exercise gear; and another gift certificate to Red Door from Ry!

Thanks to everyone who helped make my birthday so fun this year! Good thing I only have a birthday once a year--I'm going to need that long to recover!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is This a Sign...

. . . that I blog too much?

Tess taking a picture of her baby with her toy camera, which she's holding backwards.
It should be an introspective shot.

Bathing Beauty

I haven't had a lot of luck getting good pool pictures. I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities in the 90-degree days to come!

Finding Tess

So, it's no real secret that Tess has been a little slow with this walking business. We had her 18 month check-up on Monday. In most areas, she's doing really well. She's still such a tall girl: 33 1/4 inches tall and she weighs 22 lbs 1 oz. That puts her in the 90th percentile for height and 25th percentile for weight. The doctor was glad to hear she's started taking some steps on her own, but thought it would be good to go through with the ChildFind appointment I had set up for her.

ChildFind is a county government program aimed at early intervention with childhood developmental delays. Tess had a screening on Tuesday and a full-blown 2 hr. evaluation this morning. It was a positive experience, but it's tough to sit back and watch as your child's weaknesses are examined. Tess had a good time playing with all their toys. She had a meltdown when they left, which means she enjoyed herself.

The coordinator came with a physical therapist and a speech therapist. Together, they did a full evaluation in all her areas of development. Her development is age appropriate in all areas, except for gross motor skills. They determined that she's at about 13-14 mos. in that area, or about a 25% delay. The PT said she has "mildly low muscle tone" in her legs, overpronation in her feet, and she has difficulty supporting her upper body as a result. She recommended prescription orthotics and physical therapy to help strengthen her legs. She also suggested some activities we can do at home to help get her started.

They also pointed out that she has some sensory sensitivities--she doesn't like having her feet touched, she's not real snuggly, she doesn't like the feeling of grass, and she'll do a crab crawl to avoid rough surfaces. They weren't overly concerned about this area because there are many things she's not sensitive too: crawling on carpet, tags in her clothing, messy food on her face, a dirty diaper, splashing water. They just thought we should be aware and let the doctor know if her sensitivities increase.

They said the best thing about her is her delightful personality and her enthusiasm for play and walking. She was charming them, big time.

She's on the border, but with a 25% delay, she qualifies for services under the program. The kind of frustrating part of all this is that, OK, now you know what the problem is, but there's a waiting list for actual services to address the problem. They said the waiting list for PT wasn't really long, but they'll let me know when they have openings. In the meantime, we're supposed to put her in hightop walking shoes (no summer sandals) and do some exercises at home and in the pool with her.

On recommendation of my pediatrician, I have an appt with a pediatric neurologist at the end of July. The PT thought this was still a good idea, since she's had issues with balance and falling. Her legs are one thing, but the idea that there may be something wrong with her brain makes my heart race.

One step at a time. Right now it's time for a Dr. Pepper.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Great Big KISS for Our Dads!

We are so blessed to have such great dads in our lives! Ryan is such an amazing dad to Tess. He loves her to pieces and she absolutely adores him.

Yesterday she once again proved to us how much of a Daddy's girl she is by watching with golf with him. Voluntarily. And I think she was actually ENJOYING it. Periodically she would point to the screen and say "ball," and she'd show us how to swing at a ball. She let out a shriek every time someone teed off and she laughed if they hit it into a sand trap or tall grass. Apparently this is not proper golf etiquette, so Ry will have to teach her a few things before they can hit the links together. The tutoring has begun: "Tess, that's Angel Cabrera. He's not doing so well." "Tiger, Tess. Can you say Tiger?"

Tess made it through her first week of Nursery sans Mom & Dad. We think she did OK--but since we weren't there, we really don't know. I peeked in on her at one point and she was struggling to get in a chair. All the other kids were seated with no problem. I resisted the urge to sweep in and help her, and she managed to survive. All that time, though, and I don't know what she was up to. When Ry went to pick her up from Nursery, she was having a blast with the bubble machine and didn't seem too interested in going home. I guess that's a good sign.

Wendy & Keith came over for a Father's Day feast this afternoon. Tess was WOUND UP from all the attention. She showed off her new walking skills and jabbered, jabbered, jabbered to Nana and Papa. We wish we knew what she was talking about.

For Ry's present, Tess performed a song that we've been working on all week. She was hyped from all the excitement, and she was not the most cooperative. She did a much better rendition for him earlier in the day. These are our attempts to capture her song on film:

Take #1

Take #2

As good as we're going to get.
I sang this song way too many times today!

Ever have a hard time deciding what to get Dad for Father's Day? What do you get for the man who already has everything? I bet he doesn't have elf windows! If he does have elf windows, then I bet he doesn't have an elfin wishing well--or an elf lantern! Keith better start telling Wendy what he wants for Father's Day before an entire Smurf village takes up residence in their backyard!

You'd better get thinking, Keith.
I saw that they actually sell an elfin outhouse.

Tess got to talk to Baba on the phone today, too. We miss and love him, and we're so excited to visit this summer and get lots of Baba time in.

We have the best dads anyone could ask for! Happy Father's Day, Dads!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Every 4 weeks, I am at a distinct disadvantage compared to my Biggest Loser challengers. At least I have a good excuse for my monthly 4 lb. gain. I don't know what excuses they have!

That's it--we're all losing next week!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

One & One Half

Happy half-birthday to our sweet Tess! She has changed so much these past few weeks. Tess is picking up new words more quickly now--she learns new words every day.

Ry & I have been keeping a running list on the fridge of words she says. Right now she has about 40 words in her vocabulary:

Mom, Mama, Dad, Dada, up, bubble, in, cheese, Elmo, Big Bird, Cook[ie Monster], bye, goodbye, broccoli, fry, book, stinkerpot, hat, eye, Deez (Jesus), amen, hi, baby, ball, Papa, ap[ple], dip, star, spider, bum, [ba]nana, bot[tle], ba[th], waf[fle], [l]ight, ice [cream], bike, socks, shoes, "T," "S"

There are many more words she understands, but doesn't articulate herself.

So much for my dramatic build-up to her first week in Nursery. Today was Stake Conference--so no Nursery until next week. Ry & I took turns running laps with Tess in the hall during Conference today. It was like a party with so many kids in the hallway! She was loving it.

I talked Nana into giving Tess her first haircut this past week. It was long in the back and still shorter on the sides. I just wanted to even it out, so it can all grow at the same rate. I didn't have the heart to trim those little curls myself. Nana did a good job, but I miss the curls. Hopefully it won't take her as long to grow them out again!

And the answer to the eternal question: "Is Tess walking yet?"

I think these count as real steps. We are still having her assessed this week to make sure she doesn't need some extra walking help. She's getting there, though!

Finally, for posterity's sake, here is a list of Tess' favorite things at age 18 months:
  • Walking & running with her walker
  • Riding her ride-on firetruck
  • Going to the playground
  • Being around other kids
  • Books; reading books in our bed before bedtime
  • Smoothies
  • Walking around the church and pointing out all the pictures of Jesus
  • Watching Sesame Street
  • All things "Elmo"
  • Going to the library
  • Snuggling with Mom on the couch
  • Watching video or looking at pictures of herself
  • Riding in the "car" cart at the grocery store
  • Popsicles
  • Talking to Dad
  • Visiting Nana & Papa's house
  • Mom's cell phone
  • Pulling out drawers
  • Playing on the deck
  • Making Mom & Dad laugh
  • Ride-on cars at the mall
  • Water fountains
  • Her bottle (I still can't make a clean break!)
  • Her shoes
  • Puppies & kitties
  • Laughing & telling jokes
  • Curious George
  • Being outside
  • Playing with Mom's makeup
  • Brushing her teeth
  • Cars & trucks
  • Eating & drinking anything Dad is eating & drinking
  • Bubbles
  • Talking to Dipsy on the phone
  • Pens (writing with them & carrying them around)
  • Tearing Mom's wallet apart
  • Playing & flouncing in blankets
  • Music & dancing
  • Going for walks outside
  • Sniffing flowers
  • Climbing
  • Pretend sleeping
  • Vegetables

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bee Smart

Tess has strong opinions on this article that Papa sent us from the New York Times. It's pretty funny to watch her "read" it to us. She holds it up close to her face and then jabbers a mile-a-minute.

She was so riled up by it, I wouldn't be surprised to see her letter to the editor printed in Monday's paper.

The kids at the 2020 Scripps National Spelling Bee had better watch out! I guess I need to buy her a dictionary.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Walk With Tess

Tess has warmed up to her walker again. Today we went for an early morning walk.

Along the way she saw...

some rocks...

a stick...

a license plate...

a magic fairy...

and a puppy.

....Going. The end.

Homemaking Hula

One Enrichment meeting down. . .who knows how many to go! We had a Luau/Talent Night. We had pretty good attendance (considering the tropical storm that blew through last night) and great participation by our sisters.

Caroline headed up the decorations and she did a wonderful job! I love the octopus centerpieces and "fishing net" display was genius!

Sisters brought displays of their talents to share--we had everything from woodworking, to sewing, to salsa making!

Rebecca & Christan treated us all to super-yummy sweet pulled pork wraps a la Cafe Rio. They were a big hit. Then we had a few talent performances, learned to hula and wrapped the night up with pina coladas.

I would be glad that it's over, if we didn't have another one to plan for next month!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Nursery Time

It's hard to believe that Tess will be 18 months old next Sunday. From very early on, people have asked me if I was excited for Tess to go into Nursery. I remember almost taking offense at the first inquiry; snuggling my little bundle closer to make sure she wasn't going ANYWHERE!

But we're older and wiser, and we've been on Nursery countdown for a number of months now. We're lucky to get her past the sacrament portion of Sacrament Meeting, and we spend the rest of the 3 hours wearing out the hall carpets and splashing in the water fountain.

To help get her ready, Ry & I have gone into Nursery with her the past few weeks. It's almost comical to watch her sit in a tiny chair with the rest of the "big" kids. She's just a baby, after all!

She loves play time, and she does pretty well with art and snack time (as long as they have goldfish and not cookies, raisins, or sugar wafers). She's not a big fan of lesson time--she'd much rather walk around the room or play with toys than sit and listen to a story. She expresses her disapproval with loud shrieks.

Tess' favorite time comes at the end of Nursery, when they turn on the bubble machine and the kids form a mosh pit trying to pop the bubbles (Ry has to hold her hand tight so she stays on her feet. It's every baby for herself in there!). "Bubble" is her new favorite word.

I asked Ry how he thought she'd do by herself in Nursery next week, and he gave me a pretty skeptical look.

How will Ry & I do with Tess going into Nursery? I'm a little skeptical myself . Two hours is a long time to be without the Shnug.

At least Tess isn't the one shrieking in this video.
(I think it's Daniel, Caroline!) It probably will be her next week.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

See Mommy Run

Well, I did it! I finished my first 5k, and I'm pretty proud of myself!

We've had a lot of rain here lately, so there wasn't a huge turn out, and it was kind of a homegrown event. The good news is that the weather was perfect for running--overcast and cool--and it was a beautiful run! There were a fair number of hills, but you get used to that running around Lake Ridge. And it turns out that running is quite a bit easier when you're not pushing a stroller!

Tess had fun dismantling the kids' obstacle course.

The guy with the ponytail standing behind Ry
was the winner of the race.

Best of all--I met my goal: running the entire race (3.1 miles)--no walking! In my book, that officially makes me a "runner!"

Go, Mommy, go!

At the finish line!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

This Little Piggie

Another hair shot for Nana.

Monday, June 1, 2009