Carseat Shopping and Weekend Shenanigans

We had one thing on our agenda this weekend, and that was to purchase a new car seat for our apparently “tall” baby.  I’m short; my husband’s not tall, so I’m not sure where she gets it from.  Anyway, she has surpassed the max height for her infant seat, and so it was imperative that we get this done.  We started at Babies R Us because I had already checked out BuyBuyBaby’s selection the week before.  I wasn’t impressed by the selection BRU had, but we decided to make the most out of our trip and let Ellis play around in the toy section for a while.  Of course, she had to go down almost every aisle and try out everything that moved.  By the time she was done, we only had time to eat lunch before heading back home for her nap.

We tried again on Sunday and went straight to BuyBuyBaby.  I was being incredibly indecisive and going back and forth between the MaxiCosi and the Peg Perego, when the sales guys came over for a third time and schooled me on why Britax was my only choice.  Something about safety, yadda yadda ya.  After I got over the fact that it didn’t come in cuter colors, I agreed that it was the responsible choice.  Ellis ran around the store some more and right when we were about to leave, found all the riding toys, so I had to take her for a spin in EACH of them before we could go.  We did lunch at Latitude 30 before grumpy cat needed to get home for a nap.  (I’m talking about Ellis, but I could have been referring to myself as well.)

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Wish we had gotten the wagon with the seats.

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This is one sweet ride!

 

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Being just a touch dramatic.

Ellis refused to sit in her seat so that we could adjust the straps to fit her.  We have a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so hopefully she cooperates and lets me put her in the seat then.  She has learned to shake her head no and can throw a decent tantrum, so wish me luck!

What happens when you let a baby loose in a toy store:

First Library Books

I was a teacher for a few years before I left to pursue my Masters in Library Science.  I’m kind of a geek when it comes to libraries.  So, it might surprise you that today when I took my daughter to the library, I had a $3.60 fine and my library card was expired.  Also, it had been so long since we last visited that I wasn’t aware of the new summer children’s program schedule which does not offer baby story time, so I was surprised when we showed up 5 minutes before opening time and found the parking lot nearly deserted.  Normally, there’s a line of moms with babies waiting to get their names on the list as story time fills up fast.

No biggie.  You had the whole children’s department to herself.  You played with the toys while I browsed bedtime stories.  After a while, you got braver and started exploring new sections, and I was no longer free to browse because I had to keep chasing you down.  I didn’t want people to think I was a neglectful mom who just let her 12 month old daughter run around unobstructed.  And you were running.  Every time I looked up, you were up on your feet, teetering back and forth with your arms bobbing in front for balance, a big grin on your face.  You were just so happy to have all this room to move.  I think it was better that story time didn’t occur because I never would have realized how much fun you could have just on your own exploring.

I did happen to grab a few books while you were running wild and free.  I kind of stuck with the theme of dogs and cats.  I wanted books with pictures of dogs for you to look at because you are always pointing them out everywhere we go.  You see them on TV, outside, in pictures, everywhere.  The other day I was shopping for a vacuum, and you pointed at a box and said “dog.”  I started to correct you, that no, there’s no dog, but then I looked where you were pointing, and there was in fact a picture of a dog on one of the boxes.  It was small, but you found it.

You’ve never actually seen a cat in person, but I feel like it’s important for you to know what one is, and pictures of them are always cute, so I grabbed a couple of those, too.

NONFICTION

These are great because they are photographs, not pictures or diagrams, and there is very little text.  The Scheunemann books also rhyme, so that makes them fun to read.

FICTION

For Ellis, I’m looking for simple, sing-songy text or repetition, and engaging images.  The first book on this list, Little Dogs Say “Rough,” was a miss.  We haven’t even gotten to the page with dogs yet.  But Cat the Cat is a huge hit.  She stops what she’s doing to look and laugh.  The last one by Bill Martin, Jr. (Brown Bear Brown Bear) is sweet and lulling, so it’s enjoyable for both parents and baby.

12 Months

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That’s all folks! I’m off to be a toddler now.

We did it!  We kept you alive for an entire year.  Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back.  Pat. Pat. Pat.

Okay.  Let’s talk about your accomplishments now, shall we.

I made this Birthday Board for your party.  First Birthday Board captureI had to guess at some of your stats because your 1 year checkup wasn’t until after your party.     First Birthday Board

You did an amazing job at your doctor’s appointment, and Dr. Thornton made us feel like rock star parents.   They pricked your finger to test the iron levels in your hemoglobin.  You didn’t flinch, but were more annoyed that they were holding your finger and then wrapped a band-aid on it.  It didn’t take you long to pull it off.  Also, your iron levels are above amazing, again, according to the doctor.  Love that man!

You are actually 30 1/2 inches tall and weigh 18 lbs 14 oz.  Your doctor calls you “long and lean.”  You are the height of an average 15 month old, he says.  But you just had a growth spurt, so you might still be the same height at 15 months.  You have a “perfectly normal” sized head at exactly 18 inches.

Your 6th tooth hasn’t quite come in; it’s still on the cusp of breaking through, and your 5th tooth is only halfway out.

Also, the doctor informed us that because you take unassisted steps of any amount, you are walking.  So you CAN walk, just not well yet.  But you’re more comfortable trying to get from Point A to Point B by walking, especially if Point B is Mommy.

You point at Alex and say “dog.”  You point at a picture of a dog and say “dog.”  Basically, you’re a genius.  But you also point at the couch sometimes and say “dog.”

You are a really happy, easy going, social baby, but you are also a Momma’s girl.  If you can see me, you don’t want anyone else.

You sleep with a stuffed bear, and it’s the most adorable thing watching you hug tight to it.

You nod and shake your head.  We encourage the nodding more.

You say “Ahhh!” after taking a drink of water.

You are constantly on the go and into everything.  I just chase you around all day from one disaster to the next.  As much as we’ve babyproofed the house, you still find  things to get into.

There is a game you like to play when I try to put you down to bed.  You’ll be talking and playing, so I’ll say, “Good night! Love you!” and start to put you in your crib.  You’ll immediately bear hug me around the neck and lay your head down on my shoulder, as if to say, “Just a little bit longer, Mom!”  It works.  Until the 10th time, then I just wrestle out of your grasp, kiss you, and say night-night.

Stats:

I could have made a really awesomely amazing infographic, but ain’t nobody got time for that.  So here’s a quick rundown of your first year in numbers.  These are estimates because I wasn’t 100% diligent about recording everything, but according to my BabyConnect app:

3123 is the number of diapers changed

9.6 gallons is the amount of breastmilk you’ve taken from the bottle.

I stopped recording pumping a while ago, but the last recorded amount is 9.7 gallons of pumped milk over 53 hours and 25 minutes.  (I hate pumping!)

You have spent at least 371 hours and 54 minutes nursing.

You’ve visited Miami, Kansas City, Des Moines, Wichita, and Story City.

You’ve been to four states: Florida, Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa.

You’ve been on two plane trips and are a great flyer.

You’ve been sick once.

And finally, I’ve taken at least one gazillion photos of you in your first year, and shared about 20% of those photos with the internets.

Not sure when my obsession with you will end.  Most likely never.

Love you.

 

 

 

 

First Birthday

I can’t believe it.  I’m still getting used to being a mommy and raising a baby and all the responsibility involved.  You can’t be one already!  According to the world, being one makes you a toddler, but you’re still a baby in my eyes.  You have grown so much since we first brought you home from the hospital, and I have learned so much along the way, too.  I was emotional the night before your actual birthday because it reminded me of what I was feeling laying in that hospital room, waiting for your appearance.  I want the world for you, and so I might be a crazy, irrational, overprotective mama bear, but it’s because I love you beyond any love I’ve ever felt before.  So when it came time to celebrate your first birthday, I knew I didn’t want to do it alone here away from all our family.  I wanted you to be surrounded by people who love you on your special day.  So we paid $1500 for plane tickets to your daddy’s hometown.  Ouch.  That might be your last birthday surrounded by family who love you!

We flew in on a Tuesday and stayed at Cousin Teresa and Dan’s.  Grandma and Grandpa Erickson and all the Grabers came over for dinner.  It was a beautiful evening and made me miss home even more.  On Wednesday, we packed up, stopped at a party store, and then headed the rest of the way to your grandparents’ house, an hour away.  Daddy and I had a meeting with Pastor Anenson that afternoon, so you got to play with Grandma and Grandpa one on one.

Thursday was your birthday, so I documented just about every move you made.  The weather was not cooperating, but we did get to take you on the antique carousel and let you play on the swings at the park.  We sang Happy Birthday to you with a yummy strawberry shortcake.

Friday was more prepping for your birthday party.  Your daddy was concerned I was overdoing it, but I had been planning for months and wasn’t about to back down!  I’m glad I didn’t because I think it turned out well.  It’s difficult to plan and throw a party at someone else’s home, but it came together.  Also, we initially planned to have your party at the park, but it had been raining since the day we got there, and there was no way the playground would be dry, as well as we couldn’t count on the weather to cooperate.  We decided it was safest to have the party at Grandma and Grandpa’s.

On Saturday, we got you up and ready for your baptism.  It was very special and even though it was two hours past your nap time, you cooperated and let us take a ton of photos.  Afterward, you napped while we scrambled to finish setting up for the party.  You slept through the guests arriving, but woke up the moment I had a plate of food in my hand.  (You have a sixth sense about this!)  You played with your cousins and smiled at your guests.  By the time you finished your lunch, and it was time for cake, I think you were feeling a little overwhelmed.  You kind of smeared your cake around but weren’t much into eating it.  After a quick bath, you opened some gifts, played with balloons, and once we said goodbye to last of the guests, you went up for a nap.  There was a party at the Graber’s that evening, but we arrived late after you got up from your nap.

On Sunday, you napped through a humongous breakfast of pancakes, biscuits and gravy, bacon, and eggs made to order.  Uncle Eric, Aunt Amy, and half of the Graber clan joined us. Later, we took a walk with your cousins, and you rode on the carousel again.  Monday there were tornado sirens and severe storms, so we spent some time in Grandma and Grandpa’s basement and eating lunch in the dark. We played cards, and your daddy suggested the girls take part in a cake eating contest – something we may have to do every year!  Then Tuesday it was time to head home!

Father’s Day

Trav’s first Father’s Day was a huge success, if I’m allowed to have an opinion about it.photo(2)  He wanted a low-key day of just hanging out and grilling.  We let him sleep in until Alex puked in the living room, then I made him a cup of coffee and handed Ellis off to him so I could clean it up.  Ellis gave him a couple of gifts, a nice backpack to use as a diaper bag so when he takes her out by himself he doesn’t look like he’s carrying around a purse, and then a picture frame with photos of Ellis spelling out “DAD.”  That was  a tough photo shoot for this amateur photographer, but luckily I got three decent enough shots to make the project work.

I put together a very hearty breakfast of toast, eggs, sausage, and hash browns, and while Ellis took her first nap, we climbed back in bed for a lazy morning.  (I can’t even remember the last time we did that!)  Afterward, we decided to take Ellis to the pool, but discovered that it’s closed for maintenance, (Really?  This isn’t something they could have done before the pool opened for the season?) so we headed back home, packed a few more items, and headed out to the beach.  Sand, babies, and lunch time do not go well together, but we managed to get Ellis fed and hydrated while there, and she had a ton of fun playing in the water and watching a nearby group playing Frisbee.

After the beach, Ellis and I hopped into the bath to rinse the sand off, and then I quickly put her down as it was way past her nap time.  When I was done with that, Trav was passed out on the couch.  He decided on a nap over grilling, so we ended up having Outback for dinner instead.  All in all, a fun, lazy Sunday, and hopefully a memorable first Father’s Day for Trav, too!

First Birthday Gift Ideas

A while ago, a mom acquaintance at one of the baby groups I go to whose daughter is only a week older than Ellis asked me what I was thinking of as birthday gifts.  At the time, I hadn’t really thought much about it.  A couple of fun toys and done!  But now that we’re only a couple weeks away from the big day, I’ve had to get my act together.

Shh!  Don’t tell Ellis, but I’m about to share with you what we’re getting her for her first birthday.  I blame My Gym because she was exposed to the majority of these items there and LOVES them.  The problem with My Gym is they keep one station out for five minutes, and you have to fight 20 other moms and dads to give your little one a two-second turn doing whatever.  Giving her unlimited access to fun at home makes us both happy.

1-Recently Updated171.  Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug N Secure Swing – Ellis loves to swing.  Although she loves going to the park, some days it’s just tough to get our act together and get out the door. It’ll be nice to have one at home so we don’t have to trek all the way to the park (a 10-minute car ride).

2.  See Me 6′ Tunnel – I think this is the same one they have at My Gym. photo It’s got a couple of “windows”, but it’s not completely see-through.  Crawling through tunnels and tight places is her newest obsession.  See how much she loves it?

3.  Little Tikes Rocking Horse – This is perfect for her size and ability to climb on and off.  Trav (and I) originally wanted to get her this adorable rocker from Pottery Barn.  It’s so whimsical and sweet… and really impractical as well as expensive.  She wouldn’t be able to get on and off of it herself, nor play alone (and isn’t that sometimes the goal?).  This plastic one sits low to the ground, and is safe and durable.  Trav gave me a high-five for my genius.

4.  Little Tikes Push & Ride Racer/Doll Walker – I haven’t ordered this one yet, and I am a bit irked by the sexism of the two COMPLETELY identical ride-ons (save for the colors).  The blue, red, and yellow model is called a “racer” while the pastel-y blue, pink, and white one is called a “doll walker.”  I see this so often in toys and clothes and everything for girls and boys.  I’m okay with pink, but I’m also okay with my daughter liking dinosaurs and trains.  However, it’s almost impossible to find girl clothes or toys that have dinosaurs, trains, planes, or anything other than princesses and flowers on them.  It’s like we’re teaching girls to be dainty, helpless, and image-conscious from the start.  Anyway, it doesn’t really matter which color I get in this toy, but I have held off on purchasing it because I can’t find anywhere that offers free shipping on this item, so I have to see if I can pick it up somewhere locally.

As you can see, we have an active girl on our hands, so I picked things out that will help her burn energy at home.  We bought her a pair of Stride Rite shoes, too, for when she’s really walking.  I didn’t realize the ones I chose were actually water shoes, but we live in Florida, it’s summer time, so they seem appropriate enough.  I just hope she doesn’t outgrow them before she can really use them.   We are going to have to invest in a convertible car seat soon, which will be a pricey purchase, so I guess we can tack that on as a birthday gift, too!

11 Months

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You may or may not know this about me, but eleven is my favorite number.  So I have a feeling this is going to be a really good month.  It’s also the last time we can say you’re “zewo” years old!  In just one more month you will be a year old.  But let’s enjoy you for who you are right now.  You have grown leaps and bounds just this last month, and you’re far too smart for my liking.  No, actually, I LOVE how smart you are and how much you’ve grown.  Let’s discuss, shall we?photo 1(4)

  • You cut your first four teeth all at once.  The first one, top right, poked through first on Mother’s Day, and the other three, top and bottom front teeth came soon after.  You are a champion teether, because with four teeth, one would think you’d be cranky and in a lot of pain, but it hasn’t seemed to bother you a bit.
  • You got sick for the first time ever.  It just so happened on the morning of your first airplane ride to my hometown of Kansas City.  I was so sad for you, but you are a sweet, amazing baby even when you have a 103 degree temperature.

    This is as good as it's going to get on a chair that rocks.  Ellis thinks it's a ride.

    This is as good as it’s going to get on a chair that rocks. Ellis thinks it’s a ride.

  • You took your first airplane ride.  I was worried about your ears, especially with you teething, but you happen to be an amazing flyer, too.  Seriously, how lucky did we get with you?
  • You open and close your hands.  You are either saying “hi,” “bye,” or “milk.”  And it can be very confusing figuring out which one you mean.  The other night when I was putting you down, you started fussing, and I asked, “How do you say ‘milk’?”  You started making the sign, and I got so excited.  Everyone says her baby is smart, but it’s because we are so surprised at how much you understand and grasp.  I have to be very careful what I say and do in front of you, because you are more aware than I have given you credit for.
  • When we ask you, “How big is Ellis?,” you lift your arms above your head.
  • When we ask you to show us your tongue, you stick it out.
  • You give cheesy grins when we take your picture.  Love it.
  • You have enough hair that I can put barrettes in it, but you are more likely to pull them out, as well as pull off your headbands.  When you were younger, I don’t think you even realized they were on your head.
  • Not a whole lot of progress with walking.  You’ve made a couple of attempts to stand on your own, but you sit on your butt almost immediately.  I’m worried about your left foot because it’s almost always flexed.  I’m worried that your tendon is tight because you never relax your foot.  We try tomassage your ankle and do little exercises, but I need to talk with your pediatrician about it.

    What's up?

    What’s up?

  • You loved crawling up Oma’s stairs.  She has a lot of them, and they didn’t deter you.  But it also meant I couldn’t turn my back for one second.  Where’s Ellis?  Oh, she’s already up the first two stairs.
  • You have a very hard time being away from me, and by away, I mean anything more than a foot.
  • You are in size 3 diapers, and at your urgent care visit in KC, you weighed 17 lbs 14 oz.

 

Ready to melt your hearts?

Mother’s Day

IMG_9889I meant to write this much sooner while my memory was fresh, but I forgot, and then we went out of town.  So here is an abbreviated and less sappy.  I was feeling a ton of sap on that Sunday!

I think I was more excited about this day than my birthday.  I also felt like it was more a day to appreciate how lucky I am to be Ellis’s mother instead of a day for Ellis and Trav to appreciate me being a mother.  But I enjoyed being appreciated anyway!  We were up super early because Ellis just wanted me to really enjoy my ENTIRE day with her as much as I could.  So we played and cuddled while Trav made a delicious as always pancake breakfast.  He made it super fancy by adding blueberries and bananas on top.  After such a filling meal, we decided to take a walk in the park.  We didn’t make it too far around the trail before I needed to relieve my tiny bladder.  The closest restrooms happen to be next to the playground, so we took Ellis to play on the swing and equipment, and we had the whole place to ourselves.  Afterward, Ellis took a nap and we cleaned up at home.  Ellis and Trav presented me with gifts after Ellis’s nap.  I got two new beach towels, a beach mat, and beach bag, which I hope to put to good use, a computer backup thingy to load the millions of photos I’ve taken of Ellis (still have to figure out how to use it), and a “Mommy” box where I can put all my keepsakes from Ellis, along with a handwritten note with Ellis’s hand and foot prints.  I was feeling selfish, so we headed for lunch an hour before Ellis’s afternoon nap time, which meant she’d be taking a late nap that day.  We went to Derby on Park in Riverside because it’s good, and less likely to be as busy.  Back at home, Ellis napped and then we got on Skype to chat with my mom and wish her a happy Mother’s Day.  Then it was time to pack for our trip to KC.  It felt good to get everything organized and ready because last time we went out of town we waited until the last minute, and it caused a lot of stress.

This “SuperMom” Has Her **PPFFTT!!** Together

Just like they say there is never a good time to start a family, the same can be said about going to the grocery store, you’ve just got to do it.  Head first, no looking back.  I’ve been trying for three days to put together a shopping list so that I could get to the grocery store.  As a perfectionist, and slightly OCD, my list is never quite finished or good enough, and so this morning I thought, Screw it.  I’ll just go to the store, grab some items, and hope I come back with enough of the right things to make at least one complete meal.  And I’ll pick up a frozen pizza, just in case.

There is a huge misconception out there that being a SAHM (Oh, wait.  Sorry.  You probably don’t know what that means – stay at home mom, for those who have lives that do not revolve around wake times, feedings, and diaper changes.) is easy and basically opens up a lot of free time.  This is not true.  Small tasks have become big feats in this household.  So much so that I’ve resorted to texting my husband when I’ve accomplished anything beyond caring for baby, just so that I can get an ego-boosting “Way to go, champ wife!” congratulatory reply.  Evidently, there was a time when moms would put their babies in a playpen and go about their business while their little ones played happily and contentedly in a safe, secure, four-wall enclosure.  This is no longer the norm.  Babies need to be free to explore, test boundaries, and practice mobility.  In order for that to happen, her caregiver must trail behind her and intercept all dangers.  This leaves little time to do anything else.

Case in point:

This morning, my bundle of joy woke an hour early, unhappy, and wanting out of her crib pronto.  So after changing and nursing, she was ready to take on the day, while I wanted to make a cup of coffee.  Baby had other ideas in mind, including going back and forth from the front of the house to the back using her walker.  This would be a great activity for her to enjoy independently, but she has a tendency to steer left or right and run into the walls, cabinets, and various other obstructions that are not actually obstructing the straight shot between the front window and the patio doors.

See?  Straight. Shot.

Red line = preferred, efficient route Dotted black line = Ellis's trajectory

Red line = preferred, efficient route
Dotted black line = Ellis’s trajectory

 

Each time, she turns and stares at me until I come and set her course straight again.  And again five seconds later.  And then again.  And again, until she finds interest in something new.  I manage to make a cup of coffee and get a few sips in before it’s time to start the day.  I decide we should go to the grocery store before Ellis’s nap and forgo a possible morning walk in the park. All I needed to do was prep her breakfast that I would feed her in the cart while we shopped (pretty ingenious of me, right?).  Simple plan.  And so I pop a piece of whole wheat bread into the toaster, push down the lever, and Ellis crawls up my leg.

“Hi, love.  Need something?”

“Aaah…pfft.”

Toast pops up.  It’s barely toasted.  Push the lever back down.  Get distracted.  Toaster starts to smoke.  Out pops burnt bread.  Sigh.  Throw it out and insert new piece.  I’ll save you time and just tell you that 45 minutes later, I had burned 3 pieces of toast, nursed Ellis, tried distracting her with Tupperware in the lower cupboard, but she only wanted to smack the ceramic bowls on the ground, not the plastic ones, and then she proceeded to spit up some of the milk she just ate onto the kitchen floor and started swishing Tupperware lids in it as well as her hands and legs.

In 45 minutes, I cannot properly toast a piece of bread, put together breakfast to go (toast and a peeled plum), and get us into the car.  At this point, it’s close enough to her nap time, especially since she woke up early, so I gave up and put her to bed.

I can’t really tell you where the time goes.  A lot of it is staring at Ellis, smiling, and saying, “Yes!  Baby.  Baby Doll!”  “Ball!”  “You want to throw the ball to Mommy?”  “Aw.  You’re hugging Alex!  So sweet!  Don’t poke his eyes!”  Aw, you’re hugging the pillow!  So sweet!”  And other such nonsense like that.  Then there are times where she looks like she is content to play on her own, so I will start to move toward the kitchen or in a direction opposite her, and she’ll start crawling toward me insisting she needs to be picked up that very moment.  Or she’ll psych me out and let me think she is going to play independently, and I’ll get my dish gloves on and have washed two dishes, and then she’ll start climbing my leg, and I worry she’s going to fall and bump her head on the tile, but I’ve got to take my wet, soppy gloves off, but I have to balance intricately so she doesn’t fall over, and then I pick her up, and she immediately wants me to put her back down.  So I start the dishes again, and back she comes.  Or she’ll help me fold the laundry by playing Godzilla and tearing down the pile of 52 tiny wash cloths we use daily to clean her, and grabbing other folded clothes just to toss them because it’s fun, I guess.

None of this is a complaint against my daughter.  It’s simply an explanation for all the non-SAHMs to understand why my bathtub is cleaned (sprayed and rinsed) only about once a month and why my purple office is layered in dust and old messes because I NEVER go in there any more.  And why my boxed hair color job looks a little off because I was too distracted to read the directions carefully and forgot to include the “shiny serum” to the formula and then my daughter woke up just as I finished applying the last of my color to my hair but needed to wait 25 min before I could rinse it out, and I really needed a shower that morning.

Here is my daughter impersonating a velociraptor.

First Birthday as a Mom

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A few greasy strands of hair fallen out of my go-to side braid, as baby girl chews on her comb. Oh, and birthday cake!

Yesterday was my birthday.  Every year I feel like my birthdays get better and better.  When I was a child, it was fun looking forward to pizza, cake, and a slumber party, but now that I’m a full-on grownup, it’s the little things that make birthdays feel all the more special.  This year was no exception as it was my first year celebrating as a mom.  Trav got up early and started whipping up a yummy breakfast of pancakes, sausage, and eggs.  Baby girl got her first taste of pancakes, and I think she liked them.  I got to open my gifts which were spot on.  Trav did a great job as always!  The big gift was that Trav was taking the day off! and I had an appointment for my very first massage!  So, after baby’s nap, father and daughter went off to My Gym while I headed to Massage Green.  The overall experience was lovely, but as a first timer, I was surprised how much my massage therapist chatted with me and the amount of lotion that ended up slathering my freshly washed hair (another birthday treat) at the back of my head.  It was like I got a deep conditioning treatment for free!

We planned on meeting for lunch after, but the skies opened up just as I was heading to the car, and as unpredictable as the weather is here, there was no way to know for sure if it was a passing downpour or not.  Sure enough, by the time I hit my exit for home, the rain turned off.  No matter.  Trav had an amazing dinner planned for the evening.  He made the best pork chops I think either he or I have ever had ever.  No exaggeration.  He thought I was being overly complimentary, and then he tried them, and I think surprised himself with how good they were.  So good. We would have gone for a second chop, but there was a beautiful cake to cut into.  There is a possibility that I now have diabetes thanks to that cake.  Mmm.

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These pork chops are no joke!

 

Oh, and in honor of my 32nd: