Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Birthday Party

It's not every day you turn one, so I figured Stella deserved to celebrate the occasion in style. I've never thrown a children's birthday party, so I just made things up as I went. I planned everything with a few facts in mind:

1. Most of the guests would be adults, but there would be children in attendance.
2. Stella gets a little overwhelmed when there are lots of people/lots of commotion.
3. Stella wouldn't remember anything about the party later on.
4. In spite of her not being able to remember, I would remember, so it needed to be awesome. Also, I had people to impress (not really, but it sounds more dramatic).

I decided to go with a Wonder Woman theme. This came about because I bought her a little Wonder Woman car a couple months back and she seemed to like it. I thought that since she liked the car and Wonder Woman makes an awesome party theme, it was the way to go.

I decided it would be best to keep the party pretty small and low key. This would make my life easier and would lead to less over-stimulation for Stella. We invited just family and a few close friends, so we got to work creating invitations to send out. For any sort of graphic design/computer work elements, I always describe to Mr. Frisby what I have in mind and then set him to work. He usually takes my vision and makes it awesomer, so it works out pretty well. The invitation is a prime example. I told him I wanted a picture of Wonder Woman on the front with some little saying and then a picture of the guest of honor on the back with all the details. Here's what he came up with:



Pretty awesome, I'd say. I did come up with the little saying, but Mr. Frisby did a fantastic job on these invites.

I got to work making a theme appropriate Happy Birthday Banner and Wonder Woman tiara party hats for all of the guests to wear.

We didn't really have any activities planned besides the usual opening of presents and eating of cake, so I figured the food better be worth coming for. Stella loves cheese, so I made sure we had cheese and crackers on the menu. I also added fruit with fruit dip, orange rolls, sweet and sour meatballs, and bacon wrapped sausages. And, cupcakes, of course. I found some little rings with a picture of Wonder Woman on them to go on top of the cupcakes. Maybe you can see them if you actually click on the picture to make it bigger. I think it turned out cute and I think the food table was a success.

For favors, I made treat bags filled with red, yellow, and blue Jelly Bellys.

A little while before the party, I had another idea. I decided I wanted to have souvenir photos for our guests. So, I described to Mr. Frisby my idea and my vision for it and asked if it was doable. He said it was and, as usual, took my idea and made it awesomer. We took photo booth pics of our party guests when they arrived and then added this awesome frame to them in Photoshop. I think they turned out pretty sweet.

Okay, onto the party itself. We all wore our party hats (okay, Stella only kept hers on for seconds, but she was super cute for those few seconds).

After everyone had their pictures taken, we ate food and visited. It was delightful. Then it was time to open presents. Stella wasn't totally sure what it was all about, but she seemed to enjoy herself.

After opening presents, it was time for Stella to have her birthday cake. Or cupcake, as the case may be. We sang "Happy Birthday" to her, which she seemed to find very entertaining. And then I put the cupcake in front of her. She then proceeded to pick at it morsel by morsel for the next 10-12 minutes. She was totally oblivious to everything else going on around her. She just sat there eating her cupcake. And then one of my favorite moments of the party happened. Most of the kids lost interest in watching her eat her cupcake after the first 10 seconds, so they just ran around and played. After Stella had been eating for several minutes and had gotten fairly messy, her little 2.5 year old cousin ran by and stopped to see what she was doing. At first he just saw that she was eating a cupcake. Then, it seemed to register to him that she was eating it all with her hands and being quite messy and he just said, "Oh. my. GOSH!" And then he ran off to play. It was awesome. And now, I will inundate you with photos of Stella enjoying her birthday cupcake.

And that was Stella's birthday party. I think for my first children's party, it was a solid effort. I had a good time, the guests seemed to have a good time, and, although she won't remember it, Stella had a good time. Success!

A very Happy Birthday to my sweet little girl. It was funny - when the party was over and the guests had gone home, I all of a sudden got very sad. I guess the party kind of symbolized her graduation to toddlerhood and when it was over, I realized that my baby had moved on. And it made me sad. Surprisingly sad. I really didn't think I would be so sad to see the end of the baby stage. But, apparently I enjoyed the baby stage more than I realized. Well, now the baby stage is over and we've moved on to toddlerhood. I can only hope Stella will be as wonderful of a toddler as she was a baby.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

One Year

Today is Stella's birthday. It seems like an eternity since my last post. We have had a VERY busy September. There are blog posts to do and activities to catch up on. But, you only turn one once and I wanted to blog about my little one-year-old before I revisit our many September activities. We had a little birthday party for her yesterday, but that deserves it's own post. This post is all about Stella.

So, what is the little tyke up to these days? Well, she still isn't walking, but she's getting closer. She's getting braver and lately has been letting go of things so she can stand for a few seconds. She first decided to do this on our train ride to Seattle (which will be another upcoming post). She was standing on the bed in our little sleeper room while the train was moving and, apparently, decided this would be the perfect time to try to demonstrate what, for her, was an amazing feat of balance. It was difficult for us to walk around the train with perfect balance and, yet, she decided it was time to practice. And she did a decent job. And she has continued practicing her standing and getting braver and braver since we got off the train. She has a little push cart that we got her for Christmas last year and she loves to walk around with that thing. It's really cute to watch her. But, you'll just have to take my word for it because Blogger won't upload the video. We did get her some awesome new shoes in anticipation of this milestone of milestones. She'll be walking very soon.

She still loves the Tupperware cupboard and empties it almost daily.

I weaned her a few weeks ago, so now Mr. Frisby also gets to take turns feeding her and putting her down for the night. We always include reading her some books with her bedtime routine and we've noticed that she's starting to have preferences and favorites. "The Monster at the End of this Book" is one of her favorites. She also loves "Little Blue Truck" and "One Fish, Two Fish". We know them well enough that we can recite some, if not all, of the lines from the books without looking and, if we do, she loves it. This came in handy on our train ride when I forgot to bring any of her books with us. She seems to prefer books that rhyme and that have a large picture to word ratio. She has a hard time getting through books with lots of words at this point because she's still to young to really get into stories. If we're reading her a story that's not one of her preferred ones, she just tries to play with the book and shut it and look around and otherwise make it very difficult to get through. But, if she likes the book, she just settles in to listen.

She had her second hair cut at the beginning of the month. As you can see, she was in dire need of it.

 She did well, as she did the first time, and came out of it looking cuter than ever. And, to Jessica's credit, she gets regular compliments on how cute her haircut is.

She has seven teeth now and I'm guessing she's working on more. She's been chewing on things like crazy and seems to be slightly more bothered by it. However, it doesn't seem to disturb her sleep like it used to.

She continues to be a great sleeper. At least at night. Her naps sometimes leave something to be desired. But, it doesn't help when she falls asleep in weird positions.

I recently put a couple of stuffed animals in her crib to see if she would develop any attachment. Many of the things I've been reading about children her age say that, by this time, they've usually developed an attachment to something - a stuffed animal, or blanket, or soft toy - that brings them comfort. A "lovie". Well, Stella couldn't care less about soft toys. They don't "do" anything. So, I thought maybe if I put some in her crib, she would be more interested and maybe become attached to something. Not so. The little animals sit in her crib merely to welcome her when I lay her down and bid her adieu when I get her up. She pays them absolutely no mind. Maybe next we'll try a blanket...

She recently learned to shake and nod her head. She doesn't know what it means, so she just randomly does it when she feels like it. It's funny. She doesn't really say any words yet. I think she said "Scout" the other day. In fact, I'm fairly certain she did. But, she hasn't done it since then, so it's hard to be sure. When we tell her to say "Mama" or "Dada", she just laughs. And if she gets in trouble, she just laughs. The other day, she bit me, so I flicked her cheek to startle her and I sternly told her not to bite. She just looked at me and laughed. She also knows what things she's not supposed to get into, so she'll crawl over to those things and look around for me to see if I'm looking. Then, when she sees that I am, she smiles and deliberately starts getting into them. If she's going for something and knows I'm coming to stop her, she starts laughing and crawls faster to get away. I think we're in trouble.

And with a face like that, how will she not get away with everything?

It's definitely been a crazy and awesome year. I'm excited for toddlerhood, but yesterday, after the birthday party was over, it hit me that the baby stage was ending and it made me really sad. I didn't think I would be very sad, but I totally was. This year has definitely flown by and that makes me a little scared for the coming year. It's hard to take everything in when it goes by so fast and I don't want to miss anything with her. It makes me so grateful that I'm able to stay home to take care of her. We love you, little Stella, and we're so excited to see what this next year has in store.