Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Little Cake, a Lot of Fun

Whew.

Hosting a first birthday party is a lot of work. In fact, it’s downright exhausting. I did not stop for two days straight. But, all of my efforts paid off on Saturday. It truly was a great party.

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Riley had a perfect morning, schedule-wise. He went to bed a little earlier than usual the night before, so he woke up earlier than usual the next morning, which was exactly what I wanted. That meant he went down earlier for his nap, still slept for a little over an hour, and was up and dressed before the party started.

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His napping for over an hour also meant I, along with the rest of the party preparation people, could get last minute tasks completed before everyone started arriving. I was able to get a LOT done the day before, but there was still a decent amount on my to-do list the day of. However, everything was crossed off and under control before the official start time rolled around.

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We served brown sugar and balsamic pork, sundried tomato pasta salad, broccoli salad, fruit, spinach dip, and dirty dip, as well as hotdogs, goldfish, and M&Ms for the kids. I had a subtle theme of colors and shapes, which was mostly reflected in the decorations. Bright balloons, colored foam shapes and pom pom balls, a hand-drawn birthday banner, special accoutrements for the birthday boy, and a handmade photo banner adorned my parents’ house for the occasion.

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We had about 40 people in attendance, including a dozen kids. The house quickly became crowded, noisy, and festive, and Kenny and I loved every minute of it. Riley did really well with all of the stimulation, being passed from person to person, crawling all over the place, walking a bit, and playing on the floor with his friends.

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Cake time finally rolled around about an hour and a half into the party. Kenny and I worked so hard on baking, constructing, and icing our confectionary creation that we didn’t really want to cut into it, but we knew we had to. So, after singing “Happy Birthday” and subsequently removing Riley’s special birthday hat on account of many tears, Kenny removed the top part of the cake to give to the birthday boy.

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I wasn’t sure how Riley would react to having a mini three-tier cake plopped in front of him, but, as you saw on Monday, he dug right in. He started off a little slow, but once he got past the blue triangle on top, he got the hang of it. He was a complete and utter mess by the time we finally declared him finished, so an impromptu sink-washing was definitely required.

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When it was all said and done, we had exactly half of the main cake left. It’s a good thing it was tasty because we’ll be eating it for weeks!

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All in all, the party was a rousing success. Riley seemed to enjoy all of the attention, and I think everyone had a fun time. Good food, good friends, good occasion. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate our Riley-bean being around for one whole year.

And I am certainly glad I have another whole year before hosting the next party. It took me the rest of the weekend to recover.

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy. I know you won’t remember your first birthday party at all, but I hope you look back at the pictures and videos one day and realize it was something special.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy First Birthday, Riley-bean!

My sweet boy.

You are one year old today. Hooray!

I cannot tell you how much Daddy and I love you. You constantly put smiles on our faces and pride in our hearts. You are so smart and sweet, and we are so lucky you are ours.

It seems like just yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital. You were so tiny.

A lot has happened since that day, and there is definitely a lot more to come. Daddy and I are so excited about getting to watch you grow and learn and explore the world around you. We'll be right by your side every step of the way.

Happy first Birthday, Riley-bean. We love you!

Love,
Mama and Dada


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Twelve Months

One whole year old. My gosh.

Here’s what I want to remember from the last month of his first year:

  • He continues to eat (and sleep!) well. Lately, he has taken to inspecting what is being offered to him before he'll open his mouth to eat it, mostly if I switch to something else on his plate. This little ritual of his is too funny. But I am okay with it as long as he continues to be a good eater!
  • He is insisting on feeding himself these days, so his highchair tray is constantly being washed. He has tried a few new foods, including lamb, shredded pork, zucchini, olives, chickpeas, mushrooms, fresh pears, blueberries, and pineapple, and (shhh) York peppermint patty, as well as birthday cake!
  • He is taking approximately 24 ounces of formula each day, as well as a sippy of water throughout, but he is down to taking only one bottle at bedtime (woo-hoo!). It’s sippy cups the rest of the day and he’s doing great with that. We go see Dr. N on Thursday, so I’m hoping to be done with formula by the end of the week. (I’ll also post his official stats after our visit with her.)
  • He has four teeth. His first top tooth was discovered by me on the 8th, and his second top tooth started poking through a couple of weeks ago.
  • He had his sixth haircut this month. I held him on the swing in the backyard and enticed him to sit (somewhat) still with an apple juice popsicle while Kenny danced around and snipped.
  • He is now a pro at standing. He took his first few very tentative steps early this month, and continued to improve as the month went on. He took a solid two to three steps twice on the 13th, and he did even better on the 17th and 20th. By the end of the month, he wasn’t walking completely solidly yet, but he can go a fair distance across a room on his feet before collapsing.
  • He has learned so many tricks this month: high five from Daddy, “touchdown LSU!” from Nola, “uh-oh!” and sticking his tongue out from Aunt Erin, his own unique cow sound from Grandma and Grandpa.
  • He is pointing his little index finger. He points to his ceiling fan almost every time he wakes up when we go in to get him from his crib.
  • He is starting to understand a few simple commands. For example, I use “up” when I want him to stand or pick him up; “push, push” when getting him dressed; “arms up” when getting him undressed; and “shake, shake” when he is holding a toy.
  • He will pat his chest if asked “where’s Riley?” And right now he does the same if asked where anyone else is, but we’re working on that. He’s also kind of started pointing to his nose when asked. And when we're in his chair and I tell him it's time to go night-night, he usually looks toward his crib.
  • He says “mama” and “dada” all the time, but I’m not sure if he actually associates Kenny and me with the words. And he’s starting to say his own version of up (“uh”), more (“muh”), “night-night” (“nye-nye”), and yogurt (“go-guh”) but he’s mostly just repeating when I say them. He is actually repeating a fair number of things we say, in his own special way, of course.
  • He started clapping on the 10th when Nola sang “Patty Cake” to him during lunch. Now he claps all the time, both to “Patty Cake” and for himself (“yay for Riley!”).
  • He plays really well by himself. He still likes someone to be in the room with him, but he doesn't need anyone down on the floor with him. I love watching him go from one toy to the next and from one location to the next, as well as listening to him babble to himself the whole time.
  • He studies everything. From the logo on his bottles to the designs on his clothes to the textures of his toys, this kid doesn't let anything escape his scrutiny.
  • He still loves to watch fans spinning and to listen to airplanes and to play with lightswitches and to push things around (although not quite as much as he used to). He also loves being spun around in our desk chair and doing “backbends” holding onto my fingers.

Twelve months old. Not a baby anymore.

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Happy Birthday, Riley-bean. We couldn’t love you more.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Video Monday: Birthday Cake Smash

I will do a detailed and picture-filled post on Riley’s first birthday party, which we hosted on Saturday, a little later in the week. But for this week’s Video Monday, I thought y’all might enjoy a peek at his special day.

Cue the smash cake video.

(Warning: it is a little long.)

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Video Friday: Walking

Our boy can walk! He can’t quite do it anytime he wants just yet, but he has improved SO much in the past week.

I’ll be chasing him all over kingdom come before I know it.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Zac’s Birthday Party

Steve and Jaimi were so very generous to let me claim the Saturday before Riley’s birthday for his party (thanks so much, y’all!), and that meant having Zac’s party this past weekend. Since their birthdays are on the very same day, we’ll have to do this dance every year!

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Kenny, Riley, and I piled into the car and headed to Baton Rouge on Sunday afternoon. Steve and Jaimi decided to have the party at an outside location, not at their house. The birthday bash was at a place called Exerfit, a family fitness center. We were in a room with a huge multi-story jungle gym and a roller racer track underneath. It was pretty cool, and the kids sure did love it.

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Riley spent much of the time wide-eyed, and I felt bad that he was too little to really enjoy the activities. We did take him up into the play area a couple of times, but there were just too many big kids scrambling around for him to do much without fear of being trampled. But that’s okay…..we’ll just have to meet up there again with cousin Zac once Riley is a bit older!

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After the kids all expended huge amounts of energy in the play area, we took a break and moved to a small party room for pizza and cookie cake. While I would not let Riley try the sweet stuff (save for a small taste of icing from my finger), we did discover that he is a big fan of pizza. He kept opening his mouth for another bite!

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One last run-around on the jungle gym and Zac’s fifth birthday party was officially in the books. It was at a really fun place, and I think all of the kids had a great time, including Nicholas and James, who are in town right now from California. (They, along with Aunt Debbie, will also be at Riley’s party next weekend!) Happy Birthday, Zac!

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Two birthday celebrations in two weekends for two very special boys. Can’t beat that!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wait for It

Once we got home from our fun afternoon with Kelli and Jack, Riley took a decent nap and then was in a good mood the rest of the day (except for a small poop incident when he woke up….gross). He ate great at dinner, “helped” me pick up his toys both downstairs and in his room, had lots of fun in the bathtub, and let me get him dressed for bed with little fuss.

Wait for it…..

He took his last milk of the day like a champ and then babbled to me on my lap for a bit before it was time for night-night. I put him in his crib, gave him his froggy (sadly, giraffe was recovering from the aforementioned incident), told him I loved him, and went to leave the room.

Wait for it…..

Most of the time, he rolls right over and goes to sleep, but sometimes he rolls over and sits up. And sometimes he actually rolls over, sits up, and then stands up to watch me leave.

Wait for it…..

He did the latter on this particular night, and I’m so glad my camera was upstairs on my desk because I just had to get a picture of him standing there.

Wait for it…..

I dashed out of his room and grabbed my camera, flicking it on at the same time. I quickly composed the shot, pressed the button, and prayed it was in focus.

Wait for it…..

Oh, my.

This may just be the cutest capture of my Riley-bean yet.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Afternoon Outing

Kelli and I have been trying to get Riley and Jack together to play for weeks, and we finally made it work last Thursday. They came to pick us up for an afternoon out on the town.

First, we met Karen and Nathan for lunch at Nola Beans, a cute little place in Lakeview. Jack kept trying to steal the purse of the lady behind him, Riley threw some of his edamame on the floor, and Nathan was an angel. A good time was had by all!

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Then, while Karen went home to get Nathan down for his nap, the four of us headed downtown to the aquarium. We thought the boys would have a good time looking at the fish and playing upstairs in Adventure Island. They didn’t stay by each other a whole lot (Jack gets around a bit faster since he’s walking), but I think they both enjoyed the outing.

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Riley was completely entranced by the animals in the Caribbean tunnel enclosure, and he and Jack both loved watching the penguins. Once we got to Adventure Island, Riley especially loved the green fish on the floor in the play area. He kept crawling over to it every time I’d put him down somewhere else!

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When Kelli and I had had enough of chasing the two maniacs around, we went downstairs for one last look at the fish in the big Gulf of Mexico enclosure and then called it a day. We had two mighty tired and thirsty boys on our hands….they both kicked off their shoes and relaxed with sippies all the way home.

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Thanks so much for spending the afternoon with us, Kelli and Jack; we had so much fun. Let us know when you want to get together again!

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