Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Birthday Bash Continued

On Sunday afternoon, Topher went over to Grandma & Grandpa Clark's house to continue his birthday celebration. There, he was spoiled (in a good way!) with lots of toys and clothes.
He received a wealth of toys, a puzzle he loves, and some really cute outfits. He loves spending time with his grandma and grandpa. Grandma even made him birthday cupcakes! He didn't eat much of the cupcake, but he had fun smearing the icing around.
Thank you, grandma and grandpa, for the wonderful party and all the fun toys!! On the way home, Sassy was in the back and Topher kept trying to turn around to see his "bup," whose nose is just visible over the back of Topher's seat in this picture.
Eventually, he just fell asleep that way.
By the time we got home, he was thoroughly exhausted from his weekend of partying.
This morning, he was having fun playing in his "birthday suit," even though we explained that his birthday was over. :)
We are convinced that he becomes more beautiful every single day. He just had his one-year checkup yesterday and he was so brave! He only cried for about 5 seconds, just until they let go of his legs after giving him his shots. He weighed 24.5 lbs (80th percentile), he was 31" long (75th %), and his head was 18 5/8" in circumference (75th %). It seems like he is turning into a very well proportioned little guy. He got a clean bill of health and we realized that in his whole first year he never had an ear infection or a single illness that required a medication. We have been incredibly lucky and we count it as one of our greatest blessings to have such a healthy little baby. What a great weekend we all had, and we can't wait to see what surprises this next year will bring.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Kansas City Birthday Bash

We headed to KC to celebrate Topher's first birthday with my family. My sister and brother-in-law, Regina and Justin, graciously offered to throw us a party for the little man. We started Topher's birthday off by making a trip to the pet store, one of our favorite spots to visit. He fell asleep in the car on the way there, but quickly woke up to see all the animals.
From there, we went to a fancy little toy store to see if Topher needed any more birthday presents (ha!) He played a baby grand and chose a little maraca for his birthday toy, which he wouldn't let go of, even while taking a bottle in the car.
Then it was back to Regina and Justin's house to get ready for the party. Topher helped clean up and then had fun with the balloons. It was a sports themed party and Topher was voted Rookie of the Year, MVP, and Overall #1.
When the party was set up, Topher went outside to play for awhile.
Party time! As soon as everyone arrived, Topher fell asleep. We let him nap for about 30 minutes, but then people were asking to see the birthday boy so we woke him up. The food was build-your-own-pizza and turned out great.
Birthday loves from uncle Jon, cousin Audree, aunt Katie, Mar-Mar, cousin Aubrey, and Grandpa.
Cake time! It was the CUTEST ice-cream cake I have ever seen. Unfortunately, because Topher had just woken up and everyone exploded into noise singing "Happy Birthday," this part of the day didn't go so well. We tried singing softer, but the damage had been done. Classic first birthday moment. Poor little sweetheart.
Luckily, there were plenty of presents to help cheer Topher up. He literally got buried in a pile of presents! He loved it, and I don't blame him! He got so many presents that we came home and immediately boxed up most of his "baby" toys to give away.
The next morning, it is finally time to go home. At a rest stop, Topher gets a new diaper and tries out the driver's seat. We're happy to say that Topher did really well in the car! It's not easy to take him long distances but it is possible now, and that's huge. He really didn't cry at all, so it was a tear-free trip! He even slept the last hour or more.
We're home! We love coming home to this house. Topher found his kitty and was entertained for a LONG time. She was a good sport, even though he kept tackling her to the ground and squealing in delight. He LOVES that cat. In this video, you can hear him saying "dat, dat" which means cat.
Like all our trips to KC, it went way too fast. We're so thankful for everyone who took the time to come celebrate Topher's first birthday with us, and for all the fun presents. Regina and Justin, thank you SO much for throwing that amazing party for Topher. It was perfect. It brings us so much joy to watch Topher be surrounded by people who love him. Stay tuned for details on Topher's second first birthday party at TJ's parent's house! Is this a lucky boy or what??? HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TOPHER!!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

One Year Ago...

I was still pregnant. Today is the last ever day I'll be able to say that. My belly was huge and I was completely oblivious to the fact that I was already in active labor...I would find out later in the day at my 36-week checkup and it would stun me. But on this morning a year ago I was just enjoying my day off from work, padding around in a house that I hated and wondering if it would ever get finished and sold. I was holding my belly low on the left side, where I could feel Topher's hiccups at least once a day. I was running to the bathroom at least every 30 minutes and still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I had a real, live, blinking baby inside of me. I wish back then I could have seen a picture of Topher now. I wish I could have seen what I was creating.
I'm going to be this many!
Today we are packing up and heading down to Kansas City to celebrate Topher's birthday with all 10 of his cousins. I went shopping for his presents last night and it surprised me how much I wanted to buy him everything. I'm usually not like that, but right now I feel like I want to give him the whole world. I settled on just a few fun toys, but as I was leaving I passed a clearance rack of diapers. They were all in his size, and all half off. Well, I couldn't pass that up so I bought every box they had. (I'm admittedly a bit of a diaper snob and will only use Huggies or--more rarely--Pampers, which we usually can't afford.) I think Topher had more fun with the big boxes than any other gift I could have bought him.
We've also recently discovered Topher's love of pillows. If you just throw a couple pillows on the ground, he will roll around, laugh, dive right in. It's adorable.
Topher, a year ago I had no idea who you were or what you would be like. Thank you for surpassing all our expectations and helping us become a little family. You went from being a bump in my tummy to being our universe, and we wouldn't have it any other way. We love you so much.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

3-2-1, One!

That's right, just three more days until my baby is a year old. It feels like the biggest milestone in the world, like running through the red tape at the end of a long, long race. I can't tell you how many different people told us how many different ways that this first year would be over before we knew it, that if we blinked it would be gone. They lied, every one of them. It was a very long, very hard year that felt more like a decade. But here we are, still alive, despite all the many days I thought we wouldn't survive this baby. And he wasn't even a bad baby! We just found it unusually difficult to adapt to Life With Baby. But thank heavens we got the one we did, because he's turning into the most amazing little boy. We are SO lucky to have him. Topher laughs often, he's curious about the world, he loves animals, and his appetite has always been impressive. Yesterday he even started patting my back when I picked him up, almost as if to say, "Good job, Mommy. I'm turning out okay." The year mark is a BIG deal. You can turn them around so they are facing forward in the car (which we've already done and it seems to suit him a lot better), you wean them off of formula and onto whole milk (which is a lot cheaper), they can basically eat anything (so we can stop avoiding peanuts and honey like the plague), and it usually means big things are coming soon. Okay, so he can't walk yet, or talk much, but we know it won't be long. I can hand him a piece of food and he can feed himself, or I can hand him a sippy cup, and he can drink. He can open cabinets and drawers, and he can pick out toys and books. He can pin down the cat (he hasn't quite mastered the "gentle" concept yet) and he can call people by holding down random buttons on my phone (that has happened quite a few times now.) He can surprise us more, that's for sure. The point is, so much of this last year has been us helping him physically survive. But now, he's entering this phase where he's becoming a real little person. I mean, he's still all baby, don't get me wrong. One year old used to sound big to me, but now I see that it's just a bigger version of a baby, with more opportunities to get into messes. Today I had to take away from his kung-fu grasp a spray bottle of cleaner, a fluorescent lightbulb, and a stick of deodorant, just to name a few things. He really is becoming more independent, and I love to watch that happening, yet at the same time I still hold him most of the day, he needs cuddles at night and his bottle...he's still very much our little baby. Even though it was a hard year for us, Topher was worth all of it, but we can't say for sure that we'll ever do it again (ask us again in several years). We feel too lucky that it turned out as well as it did, all things considering. Maybe we're not the world's most natural parents, maybe we don't do things the way other parents do, and maybe we're making too big a deal out of the little things that other people seem to be able to brush off. But all I have to do is see that big grin of Topher's and I know that whatever we're doing is working. We're all making it as a family, and we're all learning our roles as we go. Some days I look at Topher and I have a panic moment of "Wow, I'm too young to be a mom!" even though I'm obviously not at all. Some days I feel like he was dropped into our house from a stork and I just have no idea what I'm supposed to do with him at that moment. I definitely don't have all the answers. But even with those moments of weakness, I know that Topher was supposed to be mine. If you put me in a pitch-dark room with a thousand babies, I would find mine without any hesitation. I know his smell, I know the feel of his hair when I kiss his head, I know his voice and his grasp and his laugh. I will never know how we made something so beautiful, but everything about him is burned into my soul in a way that nothing else ever has been. His big blue eyes and his gestures, his signature snarl and the way he says "bup" for puppy and "dat" for cat, the way he snores and the way he wakes up smiling. He's amazing, and I am the one lucky enough to call him mine. I am so in love with him it hurts. It has been an endless year, I have to say, but I cannot argue with the results. Topher, we love you so much, and in such a big way. We are so, so, SO proud of you. Whatever you become, whatever you accomplish, we love that we lived through the beginning with you. Here's to your last three days as a "baby" and your momentous transition into the world of becoming a "big boy" you gorgeous little man, you. As the saying goes...we had each other, and then we had you, and then we had everything. --KC