Video: Carolyn's First Birthday

Video: The itsy-bitsy spider

Picking strawberries

On Sunday we took Carolyn to Linvilla Orchards -- one of our favorite weekend fun spots -- to pick some strawberries. She was incredibly good at it, and was so well behaved that she didn't even try to eat them. She very politely plucked them from the vine, then dropped them in the box, which ended up having nearly 5 pounds of strawberries. Good thing we all really, really like strawberries. Video and pics below.

A note to my daughter as she begins her second year

Dear Carolyn,

A few days ago, you had your first birthday. A year ago at this time, you weighed a meager 5 pounds, 7 ounces. You're now pushing 20 pounds. You were, and are, the most beautiful little girl in the whole world, and I -- and your mommy -- cannot begin to express how happy we are to have you. But then, here I go trying anyway.

When we brought you home, your days primarily consisted of sleeping, and your nights primarily consisted of waking up frequently. You have always been difficult to put down to sleep, but if that's the cost of having you be delightful and playful every minute you're awake, well, I guess I'll take it.

When mommy and I (okay, just mommy most of the time) put you to sleep after you were sleeping in your crib in your own room (which just so happens to be on the other side of the wall from our bed, with a door attaching our rooms), we would lay in our bed and typically watch the TV show Lost on DVD. Without commercials, the show is about 45 minutes long. It was rare that we'd make it through an entire episode without an interruption from you. (By the time you read this, will you think that DVDs are an ancient technology? Probably.)

Though you were tiny when you were born, you quickly grew. By your 3-month doctor's appointment, you were in the 40th percentile for height, and by 6 months you were in the 88th percentile. Of course, like mommy, you are tall, but slender. In fact, most people who know such things remark that you look just like mommy did when she was your age. You're a lucky gal.

You did have a few health scares. You were jaundiced when you were born, so you got a special blue light treatment in the hospital, where you were nearly naked, under an ultraviolet light nearly all day, and mostly screaming as loud as you could at the time; you've since developed stronger lungs, and consequently louder screams, but I must say these are pretty rare. There were a few weeks where you'd scream constantly for an hour or two at night, but this proved to be short-lived. When you were a little over 4 months old, you contracted a virus (probably given to you by me), and we had to use a nebulizer for a few days. No big deal - it cleared up pretty quickly. Of course, that didn't stop mommy from worrying herself sick. Don't worry, this is typical behavior from your mom.

You have always loved playing outside, and you've always hated having your fingernails clipped. You hated your infant car seat, but are just fine with the larger-sized one. You barely ever sleep in the car without a lot of coaxing. You have always smiled and laughed a lot, for both me and mommy. I don't know why, because mommy always tells me I'm not funny, but I know I'm funnier than she is.

For some time, you thought beer bottles and ceiling fans were the greatest things in the world. You're currently terrified of people you don't see every day. Your first word was "mom"... sort of. You love playing the guitar, and you actually play it better than mommy. You have three teeth, and a fourth that's ready to break through and keeps you chewing on your fingers all day long. Before you were born, I was convinced that you would have red hair like several of your cousins and aunts, but instead you've got your mommy's hair color.

You have shown a pretty amazing amount of intelligence for your age. You started talking pretty early, and have a pretty decent vocabulary at age one. You pretend to feed yourself and mommy and me with a bucket and shovel. You stack objects. You grab your coat and instruct us to put it on you through a series of grunts and coos when you want to go outside. You know exactly what "no" means, and will frequently say it before you do something you know you're not supposed to do. You also tend to say "no" when you mean "yes", only the intonation in your voice is slightly different. You shake your entire body when you want to convey an emphatic "yes". It's cute.

Mommy is a doctor. She graduated from medical school only a few days before you were born. She started her residency when you were 3 months old. It's been a hard year in that regard, because mommy sleeps at the hospital every 4th night. This means you and me are home by ourselves pretty frequently, which is fun in the daytime, and pretty stressful at night, though lately you've been sleeping through the night regularly, which makes things significantly easier. But as hard as it may have been for your dear old dad, I can't imagine how hard it's been for mommy to be away so often. I'm sure one day she'll make it all up.

We've captured a lot of your life on video, in pictures, and in words on this blog, but there are innumerable spontaneous moments that exist only in our memories. Words we didn't even know you knew. Funny dance moves. Surprise hugs and kisses, best of all. We'll continue recording as much as we can in case our memories fail us, which they will inevitably do one day.

Hopefully one day you'll read some of this stuff and realize that maybe your curmudgeonly old grump of a dad used to have a touch of a sense of humor before he became the squasher of all that is fun.

If every year from now on is as great as this first year with you has been, we'll all have had extraordinary lives.


Video: Playing in a tube

Video: Beedub beedub beedub

Pictures from Carolyn's birthday party

Happy Birthday, Carolyn!

This is our daughter Carolyn.
She was born exactly one year ago.
This has been the best year of our lives.

Month in Review: Carolyn's twelfth month

Well, here we are. Carolyn is one year old! I'll be writing a retrospective of the entire year in a day or two, but in the meantime, here's what happened in the final month of Carolyn's first year.

  • Still loves jumping in her jumper
  • Quite the little stair climber
  • Frequently refuses to leave her crib after naps until she's good and ready
  • Pre-bedtime ritual involves lots of silliness
  • We had a Mothers Day with limited mommy in the morning
  • Rare occurrence of falling asleep on a short drive in the car
  • Will eat as many blackberries as you put in front of her, amongst other foods. Some of her other favorites this month are cheese, mac and cheese, tortilla with cream cheese, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, bananas, and yogurt.
  • Kinda scared of her cousin Jake, and also anybody she doesn't see on a daily basis
  • Loves, loves, loves, loves, loves playing outside. She will frequently grab her jacket and bring it over to us, indicating that she would like to go outside. She will also point towards the door and say "buh-bye", which also means she would like to go outside. We'll play in the yard (including in the baby pool) and at a few different playgrounds nearby, where she likes swinging and sliding, along with all the other toys available there.
  • First trip to the zoo
  • Can feed herself with a spoon, in a limited capacity. She can also drink out of a sippy cup all by herself.
  • Has learned to walk! She'll walk across a room, her gait taking a cue from Frankenstein's monster.
  • Pretends to eat out of a bucket with a comb. Yes, it's as cute as it sounds, and she even offers other people a bite of the imaginary food on the comb.
  • Stacks things on top of one another
  • Now has 3 teeth (2 on the bottom, 1 on the top)
  • Does the itsy-bitsy spider fingerwalk thing when you sing the song to her
  • And finally: the talking. And my, oh my, is there a lot of it. Let's see (click on the word for Carolyn's pronunciation): Banana, Grandma, Elmo, Football, Monkey, Bye bye, Lamb, Banana, Trees, Shoes, Papa, Socks, Butterfly, Go, Dora, and Bunny. Plus, on request, she can make an elephant sound (raspberries), a cat sound (meow), and a cow sound (moo).

A third tooth arrives

Video: Learning to walk

Video: Carolyn feeds herself with a spoon

Carolyn's first trip to the zoo

Yesterday we took Carolyn to the Philadelphia Zoo, so she could finally see all the animals from her baby books in the flesh. She behaved exceedingly well, and we had a great time.

She spent a lot of time in the Baby Bjorn, because (a) it's incredibly easy to carry her in it, and (b) she got a much better view of the animals than in her stroller. Every once in a while she'd get really excited (for instance, when we saw the elephants) and start kicking her legs. But there were kids everywhere, so we'd have to hold her legs so she didn't kick anyone in the head.

On our way out, we stopped to figure out where we had to go to exit. There was a youngish woman stopped in the same location with a daughter not much older than Carolyn. She asked how old Carolyn was, we replied that she'll be a year old in a week, then the woman said, "A year old?! She don't have no teeth!" Only at the Philadelphia Zoo, ladies and gentlemen...

There are a bunch of pictures in the slideshow below, or you can click on over to the photo album for higher quality versions.

A bunch of monkeys at the zoo

Video: Outdoor Playtime with Carolyn

Video: Carolyn vs. Jake

One last Mothers Day post

Let's close out this very bloggerific Mothers Day (6 posts today!) with some photos of Mommy and baby, especially for Mommy before she goes to sleep (if she goes to sleep) at the hospital tonight. We love you!

I just ate 7 blackberries and that cell phone is next

All tuckered out

After we were done on the swingset (see previous post), we went for a short walk, then got back in the car to come home. It's no more than 5 minutes. Carolyn fell asleep, which she never does, then actually let me bring her inside, take off her hat and shoes - the jacket stayed on - and lay her in her crib where she slept for an hour. Amazing.

Video: Swinging

Video: Buzzing mommy's belly

Happy Mothers Day!

Kristen is working today, so we just texted her this picture. See you tomorrow, Mommy. We miss you already!


Video: How we get ready for bed

Video: Waking up is hard to do