Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Emmas - Take 2

Last week we had the chance to visit Emma's Great Great Grandma, Emma. For those of you who don't know, we currently have five generations of women alive right now, which is just about the coolest thing ever.

I swear I tell everyone I meet, especially when they ask Emma's name. I'm so proud that she is named after such a wonderful, faithful, intelligent woman. I was given her middle name, so it was perfect that Emma got her first name. My sister and I had a pact -- whoever had the first baby girl HAD to name their baby Emma, no hard feelings.

My Great Grandma was "tickled pink" (as she would say) to see our little peanut. She said she had hoped Emma would be a spitfire like her grandma, who was also named Emma (got all that?). Well, as we all know, her wish came true. Emma did not hold still for one second during our visit and took no time getting used to the place. She tried to sweep the kitchen floor, climbed all over my Great Grandma's walker, barged in on the caretaker several times, and located a mouse trap that was hidden behind the TV. She did let Great Grandma feed her a bottle though, which was sweet. She also pointed to her nose and gave her two kisses goodbye, adorable images etched perfectly in my mind.

This wasn't the first time we've visited since Emma was born, but for some reason, I always forget my camera. Well, this time I didn't!! Here's a few shots I managed to snap before Emma ran in the other direction!

I love you Great Great Grandma!!

Hungry belly, sleeping eyes...

Just chillin' with my Gram!

Hmmm, what can I get into next?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Party

Sorry this has taken me so long to post, but you know the life of a mama! :o)

Well, Emma's first birthday party went great. She did surprisingly well, even while still trying to beat her cold. Besides getting mad while I wiped her nose every two seconds, she was pretty darn content. When people first started arriving, she did the whole shy thing, hiding behind my leg, but it wasn't long before she was walking around with her little strut and blabbing loudly to anyone who would listen. She was quite the little hostess.

It ended up being a nice day. It was cloudy, but it didn't rain, which was my main concern. My mom and dad's place is nice and roomy, so I felt like everyone fit comfortably. After Emma's baptism, I decided against trying to squeeze everyone in our townhome. It was nice having everyone see our place, but I do realize people like to do things like breathe at parties.

Even with all of the craziness, Emma ate her dinner all gone, with room to spare for cake (we'll get to that later…)

She did start to get tired pretty early and almost approached meltdown phase during presents, but then again, so did I. It was pretty overwhelming. First of all, this girl got a gazillion presents—and they were all huge! She was MORE than spoiled. Let's see, she got an American Girl Bitty Baby, a car, a house, a sandbox, a couch, a shopping cart full of food, the cutest books ever, and an adorable fall wardrobe… As my sister put, she pretty much won the Showcase Showdown!

(Um, Emma, sorry: Mommy and Daddy only got you the pretty dress you are wearing—yeah, the one with the bows that are totally annoying you—but look at all these nice people we invited to Grandma's house who buy you really cool stuff!)

Seriously, as usual, our family and friends were EXTREMELY generous. I hope it goes without saying how very thankful I am for every one of you. It's obvious how much you all love Emma, and that is truly the best gift. Emma WILL grow up knowing how blessed she is because of the PEOPLE in her life, not the things. Thank you all so very, very much!!

I would say opening the gifts was probably the most exhausting part of the day. With about 4 little kids trying to "help" Emma open her gifts, I had to find every ounce of patience within me. I wanted Emma to tear paper and all that stuff, but I quickly learned that she had no interest in doing any sort of sitting still with all these people and toys around. You can picture the scene: So-and-so child asking me to open this gift, while another child says, "No, that gift," while another is already opening a different gift. Meanwhile, Emma is falling on top of all of them, trying to escape my grasp as I read her a card that she has already torn in half. BUT, once I pulled Jeff out from behind the video camera, it got better. He (sorta) kept Emma content while the rest of us opened gifts. In the end, it was one of those moments when you just have to laugh. (And admit to yourself that you will not have 4 or 5 kids…ever.)

Okay, on to the Great Cake Debate: We all know about Emma's "allergy issues," so giving her a birthday cake was, of course, a source of total stress for me. Do I try to find an "acceptable" cake to make even though I have no idea how to bake? Do I let it go and let her dig in and pray that she doesn't suffer? Or do I skip it all together?

Well, against God's obvious message that baking is NOT one of my gifts, option 1 was the winner. Thankfully, I went through a trial run the day of her actual birthday. That was perhaps the best decision ever, seeing as I would have completely embarrassed myself otherwise. Here's why:

Check out the recipes for the dairy-free cake and dairy-free frosting. Easy enough, right? Well, first note the oven temperature listed: 165 degrees. Yeah, I thought that seemed a bit strange, but then again, I don't bake. (Let's also forget for a second that I write about appliances for a living, because obviously I did.) So I preheat the oven to…wait, my knob only goes down to 200 degrees. NO PROBLEM. It does turn past that, so I simply "guess" where 165 should be. I'm sure professional ovens offer ultra-low temperatures for people who do things like bake on a weekly basis.

Next, mix the ingredients. Step one, "Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry." Huh? I'm just proud that I actually separated the eggs! (By the way, it takes about a dozen eggs to make 1-½ cups of egg whites!!!) Okay, so I start to manually beat the eggs, and I notice that they are just getting soupier, not stiffer (whatever that means), so I stop and naturally add the other ingredients.

Not knowing anything was wrong, I continued on and baked what ended up taking the shape of a cake. Sure, when Jeff flipped the cake stand over onto Emma's high chair, "it" looked like a glob of oatmeal, but hey, what do you expect with a dairy-free cake? (Note: I didn't make the dairy-free frosting because I didn't have the ingredients yet.) Emma seemed to enjoy it…well, for the most part. You be the judge:



So, the night before the party, I reread the directions and realized my mistakes: Did you notice the "C" next to 165?". Well, I didn't. I was supposed to bake this thing at 325 F. And for any of you that know baking (or have an ounce of common sense), you beat egg whites with an automatic beater for like 10 minutes, when they will transform into a whole other substance similar to meringue.

Needless to say, cake number 2 turned out much better! Emma enjoyed it much more, although she wouldn't get messy. She methodically fed herself frosting and pieces of cake, but didn't start getting gooey until she wasn't hungry anymore and started playing with the cake. It wasn't that bad, but scraping dried oats off of her skin wasn't that fun either. Although you're never too young to start exfoliating!!

Emma pooped out around 7pm and was fast asleep by 7:30pm. She never even woke up during the transfer from my parent's house to our house. This party girl was done for the night.

So there you have it. Probably more party details than you wanted, but wait, there's more! Pictures!!! Don't worry, I only picked a few. Enjoy and thanks again to everyone who made it to the party!

Welcome to the Party!

No, this is NOT the cake I made. This one is courtesy of Sam's Club.

This is… uh, yum!!

All done!

Some Party-goers!



A bow and a baby… exactly what I wanted!!


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Dress

Need to finish a work project, so no time for details, but at long last, here is Miss Emma in THE party dress. All of the shots I got of her smiling are blurry since she was attacking me and the camera, so you'll have to settle for her more serious (and perhaps a bit irritated) modeling poses. The dress ended up being a little big, but this mama thinks her peanut couldn't look more adorable! Party details and cake shots to come soon -- promise!


Get this stupid thing off me!

That's right, I'm one now. What's it to ya?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Little Irritated

Okay, so yes I will post pictures of Emma in her dress and all the party details, but first I need to get something off my chest.

The other day I was reading a fairly popular blog. It's a blog I probably shouldn't read because it's pretty negative, but unfortunately, it's become a guilty pleasure. Anyway, the author -- who I do have to say is a pretty good writer and fairly funny most of the time -- decided to briefly poke fun at mommy blogs and their "love letters" to their children. Now, yes, I admit that initially the author's comment made me giggle since I am obviously guilty of this, especially within that very week.

But then the insecurity set in, and I found myself clicking over to my blog and re-reading my letter to Emma. And for a split second I was embarrassed of what I had written. It was cheesy. It was mushy. It wasn't all funny and clever. It was, well, a love letter.

But as soon as those thoughts came, they left. Yes, IT.IS.A.LOVE.LETTER. To my child. What the heck is it supposed to say? Oh, am I supposed to drop an F bomb in there to make it funny, or make Emma feel bad about all the "trouble" she's caused just so that I am "keeping it real"? Give me a break.

For those of you who "blog," you know what I am talking about. There are those blogs out there -- and unfortunately, these are the ones with 100+ comments -- that act like you have to whine about every little thing and rip on every single person in order to offer something valuable.

Well guess what: I have a feeling THIS blog is going to mean a heck of a lot more to Emma than some child who searches the Internet some day to find out that his or her mom/dad did nothing but complain about how horrible their life was -- before AND after children. No thank you. Sure we all need to vent, but I choose to leave most of my ugly thoughts between me and God. My child's mind is going to be filled with enough negative garbage, profanity and disappointment in the years to come. I am NOT going to contribute to that.

At the end of the day, I want Emma to learn that there is still room for good old-fashioned, mushy love in this world. Because that, my friends, is what gets you through those days when all you want to do is whine.

Monday, August 14, 2006

12 Months

Our Sweet Little Emma,

Happy 1st Brithday! How do I begin to put into words what this last year has meant to your Daddy and me? We have felt emotions so deep we never knew they existed until you came along…

A LOVE so pure and strong that a simple glance at your precious face makes our hearts warm and ache at the same time. We wish so much for you, yet we want so badly to hold you in our arms and freeze time so we can always fit your tiny hands safely in ours. We love you enough to let you explore on your own, even if it means you will probably get a few bumps and bruises along the way. But we will always be there to comfort you—to kiss your owies, to wipe away the tears, to shush away the cries.

A JOY we haven't felt since we were children ourselves. We look at flowers and trains and puppy dogs through your eyes, and we see the beauty and wonder of everything God created for us. Your curiosity teaches us to admire every little detail—the peaceful look on an elderly woman's face that makes you smile or the touch of sand on your feet that makes you want to kick and dance and roll around. The simple breeze running through your hair that makes you scrunch up your nose and giggle. All things we take for granted; yet you teach us to stop and notice. To stop and enjoy.

A WORRY that never seems to go away. Since the day we knew you were growing inside of me, we were afraid of what might happen. A loss of control that required a whole lot of faith in God, a lesson we are constantly learning. Whether it was your cries of pain at night or your uncomfortable wiggles throughout the day, we prayed and cried and trusted. We had to. As much as we want to believe we can protect you, there is only so much we can do. In the end, you are in His hands. And trust me, with your determined spirit, we will be keeping that promise in our pockets for many, many years to come.

A PRIDE that wells up in our eyes and practically bursts out of our ears. Your first smile at 6 weeks. Your first word at 7 months. Your first step at 10 months. Giant leaps that overwhelm us with feelings of satisfaction that our own accomplishments could never provide. Watching you move from our arms to the floor to your feet all happened way too fast, but we are so proud of your sense of adventure that we wouldn't change any of it for the world. We eagerly anticipate your next developments, but we remind ourselves to treasure the joys of today. We have found that time has a way of stealing away moments before we realize they are gone.

We watch in total AWE as you discover all that life has to offer: You thoughtfully page through your books, talking to the pictures in your own little language. You carry your doggie and baby around with you, stopping to kiss them every once in a while to let them know how much you love them. You listen when I ask you to sit while we have a snack, even though you are sooooo very hungry. You snuggle with your blankie and binkie, your two most favorite things in the world that put you to sleep in an instant. You giggle at our silly jokes, love to chase us around, and even enjoy wrestling with us. You quietly ride in your car seat as we drive from here to there, looking out the window, soaking it all in. You are always in motion, but always make time for a quick kiss or cuddle, instants we've learned to savor so that we always remember.

A sense of true CONTENTMENT. We now feel complete in a way we never knew was possible. Of course, that's because we never had a child, or all that comes along with that blessing. You have made life more complicated, yes, but also more fulfilling than anything this world can give.

It is no coincidence that we called you Heaven Sent from the beginning. God has truly revealed himself to us through you. Your eyes show an innocence He always intended for us. Your heart overflows with a love and trust that teach us how we should live every day.

We now understand how hard it is to love from afar, but realize that it is necessary so that you can become the unique person God created.

Yes, Emma, because of you, we know unconditional love in its purest form; a glimpse of how much God loves us. Unfathomable love in just 12 short months.

What a wonderful gift the next few years will be as God reveals more and more to us. But for now, we thank Him for the last year. That is more than enough.

All our love,
Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Check us out!

Yes, I found me some Wi-Fi on vacation, but I won't be a total geek and spend too much time on the Mac instead of in the sun. STILL, I wanted you guys to check us out on Urban Baby Runway. I wrote the review, Emma styled the shirt! Click here to see for yourself!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Trusting our Gut

So we got the allergy tests back and of course they are all negative. I know we should be all elated and stuff, but I can honestly say I feel no different than I did before we did the testing. I know that RAST tests are rarely accurate, especially when performing them on a child Emma's age. Still, we did them just in case (and because our doctor suggested it).

Does this convince me she's not allergic to anything? Nope. I don't care if I sound like a Hypochondriac or not -- I KNOW her tummy does not like certain foods and for that reason, we're going to steer clear of a few things. Milk, eggs and peanuts will have to wait for now, and we're avoiding acidic, citrus fruits because they seem to irritate her acid reflux. I'm also skipping the chocolate on her birthday. That was one thing she definitely couldn't tolerate when I was nursing, and I don't want her to suffer on her big day.

HOWEVER, we are moving forward with meats and other veggies. I'm also going to continue to slowly introduce foods into her diet, but not the 7-day procedure we used before. I'll probably do more like 3 days, just to make sure.

I have to admit that Jeff and I were a little hesitant to tell everyone about the test results because it's amazing how many people think they know the answer to Emma's issues when they really have no idea what we've gone through. Trust me, we've thought of and tried everything. I know people are just trying to help, but how come they always end up making us feel like we're overreacting? Maybe it's our own insecurity as parents... I don't know.

Anyway, thanks to my new blogging friend Lori , I was encouraged to share with ya'll and stand firm on what my instincts are telling me. After all, that's how we found Emma's thrush and reflux and eventually, her milk intolerance/allergy. It was hard being a first-time mom and convincing people "something wasn't right," but in the end, the best decision was trusting my gut.

That doesn't mean I don't believe Emma will grow out of all of this. And, sure, maybe the RAST test indicates that. But there's no reason why we need to rush into anything if Jeff and I aren't comfortable yet. We may get brave and try soy yogurt in a few weeks, but for now, I want to get some meat (protein) in her.

Was that a rant or what? Let's make this a bit lighter with some photos. I'm going to post quite a few so a few family members can get what they call their "Emma fix" while we're gone a vacation this coming week. Hopefully this holds ya'll over!!!



Sooooo Big!



Lovin' her "dady"...

Yeah for me!

Mix it up DJ Emma!