Tuesday, October 14, 2014

One year old!

Dear Anne Caroline,

One year old! Well actually at this point, a year and some change. To say this has been an eventful past few weeks has been an understatement- between your Uncle Will's wedding, your first birthday party, and your first time truly being sick (with roseola-boo!), your mama and daddy have had few minutes to breathe, let alone catch up on long overdue blog posts.

But oh sweet girl, tonight as I rocked you to sleep and looked at your little head on my shoulder, in the dark with your eyes closed, I was transported back to looking at my little newborn. The emotion of it all overtook me, and I couldn't finish the song I was singing to you because I was too choked up.

You see, this past year has been quite the journey. From not knowing what to do with a tiny newborn not gaining weight to seeing your daddy off at the airport for a five month deployment, figuring out how to be your mama without his close-by help and then celebrating his return and adjusting to having him back, it has been an experience like none I had before. And you just took it all in stride.

In your first year, you visited 14 states- South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi (very briefly), Louisiana, Florida, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Not bad to cover 1/4 of the country in your first year! You were the flower girl for each of your uncles in their weddings- one in June and one in September. You cheered on both the Wofford Terrier and Clemson Tiger football teams in person, and they are 1 and 1 in your appearances. You've seen the Atlantic Ocean in four different states and visited the beach in 3 out of 4 seasons- NC and ME in the fall, FL and SC in the winter, and SC in the summer.

Anne Caroline, we have watched you grow in the past six months from a smiling baby to a happy, babbling toddler. You started walking at 11.5 months, right after you started "school." You just wanted to keep up with the bigger kids in your class! you say mama, dada, bye and llama (we think this may have been your official first word- thank you peekaboo barn and the llama, llama books!). We can generally tell what you want by all the pointing you like to do these days.

Your favorite foods are cheese pizza, hummus and pita and yogurt, and you still appreciate the ease of a fruit pouch every now and then. You love playing peekaboo, and your face lights up whenever you're around people, whether you know them or not. You generally sleep from about 8 pm until at least 6:30 am, and your two naps dropped to one once school started. You love your Lula the Leopard lovie.

We had the BEST time at your first birthday party, and you relive it almost every day by watching the video of everyone singing Happy Birthday to you. It is your favorite video, by far! All of your best friends and family came to celebrate you in full jungle style, complete with a snow cone station. Hopefully I'll get around to a full post on your party one day!

We adore you more than we could ever imagine and thank God for making us your parents. We can't wait to continue to watch grow...just not too fast!

Mama and Daddy

flower girl in Uncle Jeff's wedding, June 2013 (9 mos)

Anne Caroline's first birthday photo shoot

surveying the scenery at her first birthday party

happy, happy

such a fun party

cruising in her birthday present

It's my party and I'l cry if I want to...end-of-the-day meltdown

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

6 months

*This post is a bit delayed because Mama went back to work! Definitely an adjustment for me and the baby girl, but hopefully the start of a good balance for us both.

Dear Anne Caroline,

When I think about the fact you are (over) a half a year old, I honestly get a little emotional. What a whirlwind these past 6 months have been, little girl! You are no longer at all like your little newborn self- you are super engaged in the world around you, you interact with anyone who will interact with you, you have the chunkiest little thighs and arm rolls (you clocked in at 16 lbs at your dr's visit), and you love to eat! You get very frustrated when we are eating around you and are not sharing.

You have the sweetest little laugh and are incredibly amused by bigger kids. You would just sit and watch them play as long as we would let you. You have started to display a little bit of a feisty personality, and let us know that you're upset when we take away something you want- my glasses, the car keys, and a full glass, just to name a few. You aren't crawling just yet, but you scoot and get up on all fours and rock. You are sitting up like a champ and love being upright.

I just introduced a lovie for you to have at night and during naps, and you seem to really enjoy having a friend in your crib with you. You usually sleep from about 8 pm to 6:30 am or 7 am, and nap in the morning around 9 and in the afternoon around 1. You still like to nap again around 5 for just 20 minutes or so.

Your daddy is still deployed, and we have had a steady stream of visitors to help take care of you...we could not have made it without our great family!

Anne Caroline, you light up our lives, and your mama loves you so incredibly much. I thank God for you every day!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

5 months

*On a recent visit with a dear friend, I was reminded of how much I loved it when she wrote these letters to her children, and how valuable they were for documenting each stage. Thank you for the inspiration, Ashley! Hope you don't mind.

Dear Anne Caroline,

It is so hard to believe you are five months old (and three days)! 

You are actually sleeping on my chest because I can't bear to move you...this rarely happens these days, and I just want to soak in the smell of your sweet head and weight of your warm little body. A positive aspect of your daddy's deployment is that you typically see at least one set, if not both sets, of your grandparents each weekend. They are kind to give your mama a break! You've played outside all day with them and your aunt and refused to take a third nap in the crib, but just couldn't make it through your feeding without a little rest.

What are you doing at 5 months? Well you've become incredibly interested in and curious about everything around you. You reach for keys, drinks, boxes, etc., and love your toys, especially your singing dog and Flutter the Butterfly. 

You roll from back to front and front to back easily, and the minute I put you in your crib on your back, you flip to your tummy and push up with your arms and flash me a big grin. 

Sometimes you cry for a short bit when I put you down, but you usually just babble to yourself until you fall asleep. Right on your 4 month birthday, we moved you permanently to the crib and out of a swaddle, and you take advantage of the freedom to move! 

You started eating solid foods a few weeks ago, and so far you've tried rice and oatmeal cereal, green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, peas, avocados and bananas. There's not been one you've refused, but you're a big fan of sweet potatoes! I also recently tried you on the playground swing, and you loved it. 

You kicked your feet and just smiled for most of the ride. You also loved story time at the library, and thought the music was the best part. You giggle the most at other kids, especially ones just a little older than you. And you've just learned to blow a really good raspberry, often doing so over and over again. 

You are sitting up pretty well, though we have to stay close by because you still tend to topple after a few minutes. You really like the farm exersaucer at your Davis grandparents' house and the jungle jumperoo at ours, though your feet don't quite reach the floor yet on the jumperoo (thank goodness for law books!).  

I am so proud to be your mother and love you more than I could have ever imagined. Happy 5 months, darling girl. 

Your mama 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jesus loves me

Each night before she goes to bed, I sing Anne Caroline "Jesus Loves Me." When she was first born and teeny tiny, I honestly had a hard time getting through it without a lump in my throat. We sing it before naps as well, and each time we do, she'll look up at me and smile the sweetest smile. Words cannot describe how much I love singing to her and breathing in her nighttime smell- a mix of Mustela shampoo, lavender wash, and her special baby laundry detergent.

As I put her down tonight, I thought as I was singing how much He loves me too. I have dreaded this weekend since we found out Richard's deployment was moved up. I love celebrating Valentine's Day with him, and I knew it would be lonely without him. But it turned out to be a weekend full of joy. Richard had flowers sent to me via a dear friend who has gone out of her way to check on me and welcome me into her home for dinners and coffee and chats. I had Valentine's Day lunch with another dear friend, who told Anne Caroline about all the people who loved her while I ordered my food.

One of the best aspects of military life is all the people you meet who you would otherwise likely never have the chance to know. Min, Vin and later Gia became some of our closest friends in DC while we were there and went through a deployment exactly a year ago. Min's parents actually live in Columbia, and they came to visit this weekend. It was such a blessing to share and chat with them about what to expect and how to cope with Richard being gone. I was able to introduce them to AC, and it was like they had been buddies for a long time. They are the kind of friends who you can laugh and cry with, who you always order dessert with, who would do absolutely anything for you, and those are the best kind. We cannot wait to meet baby girl Capaldi #2 in just a few short weeks!

Happy Valentine's Day! AC with the beautiful flowers from Richard.

Min and AC meeting for the first time

fun afternoon at the zoo- AC just started riding in the stroller without the car seat adapter earlier this week!

a delicious dinner at Rosso

frozen yogurt date

Anne Caroline's first carousel ride!

 Gia's an old pro at the carousel

Friday, February 14, 2014

a valentine's to remember

So in the past 4.5 months since I have written, we have added a sweet new little one to our family. Anne Caroline, who arrived on September 27th, 2013, has blessed our lives more than we could have ever imagined. The first few weeks were rough- nursing issues, a bout of mastitis, and just general feelings of incompetency as a mom- but it has just gotten better and better. I want to go back and chronicle her first few months, but this day pulled me back to the blog because it has been one of the more memorable Valentine's days in quite some time.

We are in the midst of Richard's deployment, and today was a big day for him in terms of movement and travel. I have thought of him frequently and was just sad that he wasn't here to celebrate a fun day with his girls. To add to that stress, we have had ice and snow over the past two days, and while it finally was mostly melted by this afternoon, our power went out just as AC went down for a nap. Thankfully it came back on, but it made for a panicky hour while I contemplated the best plan for Anne Caroline and me. After a calm evening of our bath and bedtime ritual, I sat down to watch the Olympics...and then felt the house shake. Twitter was quick to confirm I wasn't the only one who felt the 4.1 magnitude earthquake, with an epicenter in Edgefield. So unsettling. I actually felt a tremor in Clemson, SC a few years ago (one that was strongly felt in DC), so it wasn't an entirely new experience but still fairly alarming, given the sleeping baby upstairs. But she slept right through it!

So other than sleeping through earthquakes and ice storms, what else is AC doing at 4.5 months?
  • sleeping through the night in her crib (yay!). She started from going from about 11 pm- 7 am between 10-11 weeks, but she is now consistently doing about 8:45 pm to anywhere between 7 and 8 am. Would love to push her bedtime back to 8 pm soon!
  • eating solid foods. She is still breastfeeding 5 times a day, but we have introduced rice cereal, oatmeal, and green beans. She went through a bout of getting up at 5 am, and I hoped a fuller belly would help her sleep longer. It seems to have done so thus far!
  • starting to sit for short periods of time on her own. She is still shaky but she's making great progress. 
  • laughing out loud and fake "coughing" for attention. So funny. She loves to hear herself. 
  • smiling and giggling at her reflection in the mirror. 
  • actively playing with "Scoots" the snail, "Flutter" the butterfly, her birds on the play mat, her singing dog, and putting anything she can find in her mouth.  
  • and humoring her mom by posing for photo shoots!
Love this funny valentine so much! So thankful for her on crazy days like these.