Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

We had a great weekend of doing not much at all, which was a nice deviation from the past 3 or 4 weekends. Last Wednesday was Darrick's last day teaching. Thursday was a day for grading and cleaning up his stuff at work. That night's graduation was met with downpours of rain and 60 degree weather, which was insanely unusual, but the show went on!

Saturday was supposed to be picture day for Luca, but the rain was coming down still in our part of town, so we postponed a few days. That morning I had coffee with Linds, who was in town on her way back to the SLC from La Mehico. We had a blast, and Luca and I got to see her cute kids and hubby, and crash in on her brother, sister in law, and neice. Such great people! We love seeing Linds and Jeff and crew SO much that we're hoping to make a long weekend of it and visit them sometime very soon. :)

By early afternoon, the skies were clearing and the weather was still amazingly cool, so we took my mom with us to the zoo and Pita Jungle. It was a great day, and much different this time because Luca was able to enjoy the animals a bit more than she was last time we went. I took a few pictures but I think my camera ate them :( Anyhow, we wrapped up Saturday by watching UFC. And, Tito Ortiz lost, which was the highlight of the night!

Sunday was low key early in the day, with just grocery shopping and breakfast out in the morning. That afternoon, Brandon and Sydni came over and barbecued for us, which was SO nice of them! Luca had a blast playing with them and showing them all her new tricks, and we had fun just hanging out. Unfortunately, my camera ate those pictures as well. :(

Today we did some housecleaning and had Luca's photoshoot. The pictures were done by a friend of a friend who's starting a business, and we are SO excited to see the final product! Her blog is here:

You can see why we chose to have her do the pictures...she really seems to capture such amazing moments! After Luca's photoshoot, we decided to make use of the little wading pool we bought. Turns out that even though it's small, all 3 of us can get in at once!!! Luca LOVES the pool. She was crawling around, sticking her little chin in the water, biting the sides, and figuring out how to slide over the top to play in the grass. She was SO cute!!! Luckily, I do have most of those pictures, so here are a few:

Happy Memorial Day! We hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing weekend.

Operation Stop With The Bop, Part 3

Outcome: More Fabulous than Fair to Middlin'

Yesterday was a fun day, and a pretty successful one in terms of Bop weaning. We started the morning out with breakfast and grocery shopping (a weekend ritual of sorts). Little Lu made it through all that driving and eating and cart pushing without so much as a tantrum...and no Bop! When we got home from shopping, she was half asleep, so I took her to her crib, and there she was reunited with the love of her life, and the two slept together quite well. Someday that Bop will come OUT of the crib, but for now we're willing to compromise.

Early in the afternoon, Luca's Uncle and Aunt came over to BBQ and hang out with us (in other words, to see Luca), and she made it through the entire afternoon of playing and showing off her Baby Tricks without any assistance of The Bop. Naptime found them reunited once more, but post-nap we left it in the crib again and she did fabulously. So, it would seem we're at a point now where it's getting easier to only give The Bop in bed, which works for us. Truth be told, most of the time the stupid thing falls out of her mouth as soon as she falls asleep, so I figure there's not a lot of harm in her having one in there for now.

It wasn't ALL fun and games, though. It should be noted that I learned a little lesson about discretion in the morning, when I took her out of the crib and just sort of tossed The Bop back in while she watched. Yeah.....that threw her over the edge, and she spent the next 30 minutes or so whining and fussing and just generally being pissed at me. Lesson Learned: be a bit more sneaky about dropping The Bop.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Operation Stop With The Bop, Part 2

Outcome: More success than failure.

Yesterday we decided to soldier on in the attempt to break Luca's Bop addiction. Mornings are usually ok for her as long as she can keep The Bop through the morning diaper change. So we brought her downstairs and let her Bop away until it was time to go visit our friend Lindsey. I even let her keep The Bop in the car, but as soon as we got to Lindsey's brother's house, she got distracted by all the people and other kids, and I was able to steal it from her mouth and hide it. Linds and I took Luca with us to get coffee, and aside from the fact that she tossed enough pastry and scone crumbs on the sidewalk to feed a family of birds for a week, I saw no sign of Bop withdrawl. By the time we girls were done there, Luca passed out in the car, and then woke again when we got back to Linds's brother's house. She did fine still without The Bop, as there were 3 other (absolutely gorgeous) little girls for her to watch attentively. And she continued to do fine through the drive home and her morning nap. She did have The Bop with her in the crib, but we're taking baby steps here.

When she woke from her nap, we packed her up and went to get my mom so we could go to the zoo. It was unseasonably pleasant outside yesterday, since we'd had 2 days of 75 degree weather and rain in a row (I wouldn't have believed that was POSSIBLE in the end of May in AZ!), so we decided some time outdoors was in order. Luca made the trip to the zoo without assistance of The Bop, and managed to ride around in her red wagon for almost 3 hours without it as well. On our way home, we stopped at Pita Jungle, and she still did fine. In the car between the zoo and dinner, she was smacking her lips to my mom (who sat in back next to her). We're pretty sure she was trying to send my mom a message that she wanted The Bop, but at least it was through cuteness and not tears.

So, here we were at the end of the day, and Luca had done pretty well with her limited Bop time. But then....well...then came bedtime. She was sleepy and rubbing her eyes, so I carried her up to her crib. It was my intention to lay her down without a Bop and see if she would just fall asleep. No such luck. Her body hit the crib matress, she started making little fish faces in frantic search for her Bop, and then she let out a screech to end all screeches. I may have been able to stay strong, but out of the corner of my eye I noticed a Bop at the far end of the crib. Without thinking, I grabbed it, plopped it into her mouth, she sighed and rolled over, and she was out for the count.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Operation Stop With The Bop, Part 1

Outcome: Failure

We've been saying for months now that we need to wean Luca from her Bop (aka pacifier, nuk, paci, binkie....for us it's The Bop), but we keep putting it off. We decided to wait until she was 1, but once she hit that landmark, we concentrated on getting her off the bottle first. She's now off the bottle - - - which was nowhere NEAR as bad as we thought it would be - - - so we decided to bite the bullet and start weaning.

We've slowly been getting her accustomed to only having The Bop when in the car, at naps, or at bedtime. Most of the time she does ok, but any parent who has a baby addicted to a pacifier will tell you it's not that easy. You other parents of Bop lovers will know all too well what happens when your baby is little and the Bop is the buffer between sanity and pulling your hair out. Baby goes the Bop. Mad at sitting in her carseat? It's Bop Time!!!

And then, you go to put your sweet darling to bed one night, and Where in the hell is the Bop???! You panic. You frantically rummage through every basket, toy bin, diaper bag, purse, and compartment of your car in the mad search for a Bop to stick in that sweet baby mouth before the soft baby whimper becomes an inconsolable baby wail. With no Bop to be found, you throw your shoes on and run to Target in your jammies, dashing through the doors at 9:55, hair and eyes wild, and grab 3 packages of your baby's favorite Bop. You COULD just buy one package, which would leave you with one Bop for your surely now-frantic baby at home and one extra to stash somewhere safe, but you know better than that! Bops are magical...they seem to disappear faster than you can purchase them. You have 6 Bops now, but give it a week and you'll be making another Target run because you can't find a SINGLE Bop in the house!

So, with all this spontaneous Bop disappearance going on, you'd think that weaning would be easy enough. At some point, in theory, you should just be able to stop BUYING the damn things and then the baby will run out. But then you discover that Bops have a tendency to magically re-appear just when you least want them to. So even though we gave a good attempt at slowly weaning her from it by only giving her one at certain times, there have been many occasions where she suddenly comes out from behind the recliner, Bop in mouth, and you say to yourself Where the HELL did that come from....and how much dog hair did she just ingest?!?!?

Since our attempt at passive weaning wasn't working, we decided yesterday to just try cold turkey. Except, admittedly, it was bad planning on our part given that she had her 12 month appointment (meaning 4 shots) and is getting her second top tooth. The result: a stunning failure. She woke from her evening nap, and we took the Bop away and put it in the little table next to our couch. And then we spent the next one hour and 12 minutes listening to her cry inconsolable tears. We're talking red faced, please remember to breathe, real life tears. So we caved. We gave her the Bop, and 13 seconds later she was playing happily.


We'll try again. A friend suggested we tell her Bops are 'icky' or 'for babies' and have her help us throw them away. Her mom did this with her younger sister and it worked like a charm. I would love to try it, but our little addict needs something more like 12 steps. If we threw her Bop away, I have not a single doubt in my in my mind that she would cry like we'd kicked a puppy, knock the trash can over, climb in, scrounge around like a wild raccoon, and dig The Bop out of the pile of coffee grounds and banana peels...VICTORIOUS over us once again!!!

So, we carry on. We'll wait a few days and try again. Wish us luck with Phase 2 of Operation Stop With The Bop.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Celebrity Look-Alikes.

I think everyone has a celebrity twin (or more!), so I want to dedicate a post to these doppelgangers. Here's the scoop: simply send me a picture of you and tell me who your twins are, and I'll add them here. I encourage you to share one 'good' twin and one 'evil' twin, as we all know the 'evil' one is funnier anyhow. We'll start with mine:

Hurley from Lost (according to me), Liv Tyler (according to Rachel, who I now love forever and ever amen), and Khloe Kardashian (Suuuuzie!). The last picture is me.

And Meredyth's:
American Gothic (according to her), Anna Kourniwhatever (according to some dude in a bar, if I remember correctly), and Melinda from Real World (Linds and I think so). The last picture is Meredyth.

EDIT: Meredyth would also like for me to note that she looks like Wiley Wiggins from Dazed and Confused (he played Mitch):

Go ahead!!! Be brave and send me your picture, then tell me who you think you look like. I'll add a picture or two and we'll see what people think.

For you, Mere:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Baby Tricks.

THIS is why I bred....not for the sweet baby snuggles and tender newborn moments. Not for the precious widdwe footsie-wootsies and the soft baby cheeks. No, sir. Not I. I bred for Baby Tricks. And lately, Luca is full of them.

Trick #1: "Ahh Gah!" This is baby-speak for 'All gone!', what we say to her when she finishes eating a meal, empties a sippy cup of the last drop of milk, or when we hide something from her which we don't want her to have*. Or, you know, sometimes just because we like hearing her say it back.
Us: "Are you done eating Luca? All gone!"
Luca: "Ahhhhhh Gahhhhhhh!"

I mean, you don't get cuter than that.
*We're working on weaning from the Boppy (AKA her pacifier), and holy hell it sucks. She loves that little piece of silicon happiness....and I'll admit we do too. Any tips on weaning from the pacifier would be greatly appreciated!

Trick #2: Kisses. I love baby kisses. They are so stinking cute. So for months on end now, whenever I give Luca kisses, I say the word "Kisses!" to her. I thought she'd never catch on. And then, the other day, I was in the throes of horrid back pain, and she sat behind me on the couch and YANKED my hair. I responded with "Ow!", which she thought was funny, thereby prompting another yank. Not being able to cope in my pain-ridden state, I started to cry. I felt horrible about it, because I couldn't stop the tears and I was worried I'd freak her out. Instead, she climbed off the couch, stood by me, and leaned in to give me kisses!!! I started to laugh! I couldn't help myself - it was SO sweet! Of course, my laughing prompted her to laugh and then repeatedly smash her face, mouth open and drool pouring out, against mine time and time again. And you know what? It was ok. No! More than ok, it was fantastic. SO cute! And since that morning, she's our little Kissy kisses upon request 7 out of 10 times. Which, you know, is a better average than you need to graduate from high school in Arizona.

Trick #3: Little Growler. Darrick thinks it's hilarious to (gently) tackle Luca while she's on the floor and give her belly kisses. He makes this low pitched grumble/growl while doing it. Well, wouldn't you know it - - - the little beast has caught on. She growls back now...and it's so cute!!! Imagine this little blonde pixie baby growling at you for a moment and just TRY not to smile!

Trick #4: "Where's Your Button?" This one, admittedly, is a byproduct of her obsession with Piggy's nipples. She's taken to coming over and lifting our shirts to peek at our bellies, so we started pointing out our belly buttons to dissuade her from her mad quest for the belly nipples we just can't produce. Whenever she lifts our shirts, we say, "See my button, Luca?", and point to our belly buttons. She smiles. So we started lifting her little shirt in response and asking where her button is. She caught onto this really quickly, and now when you ask her where her button is, she lifts her shirt and pats her little tummy.

Trick #5: High 5! This one doesn't need much of an explanation, and is still a work in progress, but we are getting there!

So, all you women out there who are on the fence about breeding...take note! Once you get past the "Why is my newborn insane and why is it that she seems to hate me so?!?!" phase, you can teach them tricks. Next on the list? "Get mommy a cookie" and "Taking the dumpster to the curb".

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Weekend Update.

I have been feeling swamped and overextended lately, and my back is paying the price. I have a pain that shoots from my lower spine into my hips and thighs. Not sure what this is about, but it needs to go away soon.

This weekend our friends Isaac and Emily, and the fetus within Em's belly, came to visit. We had so much fun seeing them. No matter how long we go between visits, it's like they never left. And then, you know, they DO leave and it's sadness. Em is 18 weeks pregnant and looks amazingly good. I can't wait for her to find out if she's having a boy sprout or a girl sprout. In fact, I find that I am typically more eager to find out what the sex of my friends' babies are than I was to discover if Luca was really a Schnitz (she was not...or shall I say she didn't have the little schnitz we originally suspected she had). I'm sad that they left for St Louis despite our best efforts to convince them to move back to AZ, but I can't wait to go visit them in the MO and meet little Goff.

We also had a girls' night out this weekend, in honor of Brandi, who's moving to the motherland (aka Oregon) in less than 2 weeks. Mill Ave gets a little dull once school's out for the semester, so we girls (I think at our height of fun there were over 20 of us there) pretty much had Fat Tuesday's to ourselves. It was great, until The Douche came to visit. Brandi and I were talking outside when this dude comes over and decides to pull up a(n uninvited) chair. He tells us he's from Boston and quickly reveals himself to be...well...a douche. First, he tells us he's older than he looks. Mind you, no one asked, as B and I are both happily married with child. Nonetheless, he asked us to guess his age, so we offered up a courtesy guess, and he told us we were wrong and he was 38. This rousing game of no one gives a shit please leave us alone went on, and soon Douche was informing us that he was, indeed, not really 38 (sure fooled us, buddy! way to go!), but was rather 'practically a newborn'. I assured him we were smart cookies, and even with a Superman and a Orangesicle under my belt, I was still not fooled. "No, really, I'm a newborn!" he exclaimed. To which I replied, "If I passed something that looked like you from my vagina I would be scared." Oddly, The Douche found this comment to be 'HIGH 5!!!' worthy. Go figure. My favorite part was when he informed B (who looks not a day over 28) that she looked like his best friend's mother...and then quickly reassured her this was a compliment, as he apparently has some sort of 'Stacy's Mom' complex. Ewww. Oh, scratch that. My favorite part was when he attempted to impress with his tale of 'bagging' a midget while serving as wingman for a friend once. Riiiiight.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Edited This Title.

*Note: This post used to be titled differently, until I got sick of all the random blog hits I got from questions about women and whether or not they are able to whistle.*

I had a funny experience today. I'm widely recognized in my office (ok, as widely as you can be in an office of 5) as 'The Human iPod' because, essentially, I annoy the crap out of co-workers by humming and singing everything from oldies to lullabies to current Top 40s to my favorites (Dylan, Grateful Dead, etc.). ALL DAY LONG. So, it should come as no surprise that I bust out the ocassional whistle as well.

Or, should it?

I was in my office today, amusing myself with a little bit of 'If You're Happy and You Know It', whistled as I worked. My office is at one end of the hall, and at the other end is one of my fabulous co-workers, who moved to the U.S. in the 90s from Jordan. English is his 2nd (perhaps 3rd?) language, so things like our other co-worker's catchphrases ("Goad a sleeping bear", "Bird-dog it.") sometimes have to be explained in layman's terms. One day, he even came into my office with a peach yogurt, and told me it was "Peach for the peachy." Upon further exploration of this statement, I realized he was complimenting my typically sunny demeanor (here is where my husband laughs his ass off).

So you can see why, when I walked by his office whistling merrily, his comment may have taken me off guard. For, when I heard him say to me, "You whistle like a man, Katie.", my first thought was "Well, clearly he didn't mean that."

I stopped abruptly, pivoted on one foot, and said, "I whistle like a what?". He repeated his statement, and I stood there, still and unsure what to say next. Did I ask for clarification? Smile and keep walking? Pretend to understand?

Just then, my other co-worker, another girl, piped in, "I can't whistle at all. You're really quite good."

"Yes," assured Mr. Jordan, "that is what I meant. Everytime you start to whistle I think it is insert name of other male co-worker, but then I realize it is you. Most women do not whistle so well. You whistle like a man."

Huh. I was still not sure how to take this piece I just started to laugh. I suppose maybe that sort of behavior earned me the peachy moniker. Mr. J then assured me that it was a compiment, a good thing indeed that a woman should whistle like a man, for most women, it seems, cannot whistle much at all.

Later, insert name of other male co-worker here came into my office and handed me a sticky note. "Google this man." he said. And google I did. It seems I was now being compared to Ron McCroby, a famous jazz whistler. Observe, and then nod your head and smile, pretenging all along that I could possibly be anywhere NEAR as happening as this cool cat ::snap, snap::

:::jazz hands:::

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Go Go Gadget Arms are hereditary.

Observe the optical illusion below:

The first time I saw this picture while thumbing through my memory card, I did a double take. I actually thought, "Holy HELL, is her hand THAT big???" I mean, Luca's always had bigger hands, but this was a bit out of control.

Of course, the answer to the above question is no. Look closer and you'll see it's MY Go Go Gadget Arm creating the illusion.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Disturbingly Funny.

Luca has discovered Miss Piggy's nipples.

Miss Piggy is a dog - our dog. She has been in love with Luca almost from the start, and the older Luca gets the more Piggy loves her. I think she's always felt sort of motherly toward Luca, and when Lu was very little, Piggy would sneak up next to her and give her tiny kisses on her hands and, if we weren't diligent enough about preventing it, her little nose. She seemed to know instinctively to be gentle to her, and has never even seemed to consider being annoyed by Luca's crying or grabbing or poking or pinching.

And pinch she does! You see...Luca has recently discovered that Piggy has nipples. EIGHT of them! On her BELLY! And she can PINCH them! Now, you would think that this would be cause for alarm. Perhaps it would change Piggy's mind about Luca and how much she loves her? Maybe it would annoy Piggy just the teensiest bit? Uh, no. Not at all. In fact, the thing about The Pig is that she is desperate for attention and love. We call her Slut Dog for a reason...she loves anyone and everyone, and will practically BEG people to love her back. So you can see why Pig might be more accepting than some other dogs of the nipple tweaking that's been going on of late. But, more than just being accepting, Pig seems to encourage it. She'll spot Luca on the floor, walk over, gently lie on her side with her belly exposed, and lie there patiently while Luca tweaks away.

The even funnier side to this is that Luca has made the 'belly' connection. So she has now started searching for the nipples on all our bellies as well. She'll tweak a few of the Pig nips, then crawl over and lift the shirt of whoever is nearby. Seeing no belly nips, she gives that person's belly a little happy smack, turns around, and continues to tweak Piggy. And on and on, so on and so forth, until we either make Piggy get up and leave (because, really, at SOME point Piggy's acceptance of this ritual goes from funny to moderately disturbing) or Luca loses interest.

Annnnd....I have a feeling this is one of those stories she will NOT be amused by us sharing when she gets older.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!!!

This is a day to celebrate our mothers, and those moms in our lives who we love. I hope you Moms out there were shown some extra love and attention today!!!

Love you, Mom!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Boy jammies.

In the warmer months (please note, non-Zonies, that 8 months of the year qaulify as 'warmer' in Arizona), we turn our AC down pretty low at night. I have to sleep with a blanket, so as a result I have to make the house cold to sleep. In addition, I've read several times that cold temperatures help prevent SIDS in babies. Now, Luca is outside of the SIDS 'danger zone', but kids can die of SIDS over the age of 1, and you KNOW my ass isn't taking any chances.

So, this leads me to jammies. Luca's room gets colder than any other in the house when the AC is on, so we like her in footed jammies, since a blanket is still not recommended at her age. The problem is, Luca is pretty tall and thin for her age. So, while her 6 month jammies still fit, they aren't long enough and her little legs get all crunched up in them.

We set out a few weeks ago to find some new footed jammies. Would you believe that finding any in 12-18 month size is damn near impossible?!?! The ones I DID find were $25 a piece. *I* don't own $25 jammie, so you can bet my baby won't be owning any either. So we decided to get creative and start looking at the 9 month ones, in hopes of finding some long ones that would work.

We did. Or, rather, Darrick did. And, you know, he asked me first if I cared that they are 'probably for boys', and I said 'Nah, she's just sleeping in them. It doesn't matter what they look like!'

Please note, they are not only red and blue, but they have a dog on the front, and say 'Big Dogs Football'. Yeah.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thursday 13, #8

13 Phrases or Words I Over-Use (stolen from Jennifer):

1. "Dude." Yep, I'm a guy from the 80s apparently, because I say Dude ALL the time. I call girls dude. I call guys dude. I call my baby dude. I use dude as a statement, a question, a comment, and an exclamation.

2. "Sure thing." I find myself saying this a lot in response to a thanks for something I should have done anyhow. Example: I hand my boss 6 weeks of overdue time sheets, and when she thanks me I say, "Sure thing!"

3. "No problem." Because, really, I HATE for people to think anything they are asking of me is a problem. This is a sure sign of an annoying people pleaser: the excessive use of the phrase 'No problem', most notedly when something really IS sort of a problem, but I refuse to say so.

4. "Keep me posted." It's sort of my all-encompassing "I care about what you're sharing, but I don't really know what to say now, so please just keep me up to date on the happenings." statement.

5. "I got nothin'." Meaning...yeah...seriously...I got nothin'.

6. "I kid! I kid!" I'm a sarcastic hooker. I love the sarcasm. Sarcasm makes the world go 'round. It drives my husband nuts...the level of sarcasm occuring when my whole family gets together. But what I DO NOT love is people taking my sarcasm wrong and thinking me mean. Hence, the phrase "I kid! I kid!" came to rest in my vocabulary.

7. "Hang in there." I say this in all sad/bad/difficult situations. It's so meaningless, but I mean it to be meaningful. Yeah.

8. "Some day, a BIG IRISHMAN will kick your ass. And then you'll be sorry." This one is reserved for my husband. It's nonsense, but it's funny nonsense, and it cracks me up to say it to him when he's being purposely annoying.

9. "I don't care. Where/whatever you want." Being the Queen of Indecision means I say this a lot. A LOT.

10. "The other day Luca..." fill in the blank. Yep, I am officially that ANNOYING mom who thinks everyone in the WORLD is just DYING to hear all about how Luca ate cake/figured out how to blow raspberries/body surfed down the stairs feet first.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sneak Preview.

I've had some friends ask for pictures of Luca's birthday party. Which, you know I'm HAPPY to oblige. But I must say that, for once in my life, I was NOT running around with the camera that day. I was so busy planning and prepping and hosting and hugging that I didn't even REALIZE I wasn't taking pictures until the party was in full swing.

Lucky girl....I have fabulous in laws who have a fabulous camera and took tons and oodles and bedozens of pictures. And I have assurances that a loverly CDROM is on its way to me sometime before my mother in law goes back to NY next Monday. So, my guess is that the GOOD pictures will come from that source. In the meantime, my big brother was kind enough to weild my camera for part of the event, and I was also able to snap some pictures before and after. Here are just a FEW teasers, and once I have more (and most likely better ones) I'll try to work them into a slide show to post.

Grandma helps Luca practice her walking.

Luca helps open her gifts.

The butterfly cakes (white and chocolate) for the guests.

Luca's ladybug cake.

Ladybug cake = Luca's bitch.



More family.

Still more family.

Mommy and Luca eat strawberries.

Signature mat, to have a picture of Luca added once we pick one out!

Skittles in a garden tin, served with a trowel, to match the spring garden theme.

Paper lanterns.

Dear Luca,

Dear Luca,

You're 1. Just writing those words makes me at once immensely proud to be your mom and extremely emotional because I cannot believe you are growing up so fast. It literally feels like mere days ago you were born. In fact, as I write this to you, I think back to this exact time last year (10:34 p.m.), and what was happening for me. I was in labor, and had been for a whole long day. Your Dad and I had been in the hospital for 6 1/2 hours, and we'd finally called our family (your Grandma Eileen, Grandma Cyndy, Grandpa Rick, Uncle Robert and Aunt Jaimi, and Uncle Brandon and his girlfriend Aunt Sydni) to invite them to come down. I know some people might not understand our decision to not invite them down sooner, but we knew this was the MOST special of times for us, and your Daddy and I wanted it to be our family...our little, lovely family, alone together when you were born. So he was with me the whole time I labored, and at the very end, our family - YOUR family - came to be there and welcome you into our world. Not everyone could come, of course. Aunt Ann, who adores you SO much, was in California. Uncle Jim and Uncle Aaron both had to work. And Grandpa Ed, my Dad, wasn't able to come. But they were all there in spirit, and they couldn't wait to meet you!

My labor had started over 24 hours before. It was Cinco de Mayo, and there was a boxing match: De La Hoya vs Mayweather. We went to Grandma and Grandpa Schwartz's house to watch it and be with family. They ordered pizza and the fight on pay per view. I didn't eat much...I didn't feel like eating, and in the back of my mind I thought you might be coming soon. We settled in to watch the fight, and at about 9 p.m. I remember feeling some cramps, and thinking it was probably the pizza talking. I didn't say anything because I didn't want to get everyone excited if this wasn't 'it', but when Daddy and I left that night, we rolled down the car windows and I confessed to him I thought you were on your way. We laughed the whole way home, and then sat in silence in the garage for a few minutes...absorbing the quiet world around us which was soon to be forever changed. Finally, we got out of the car and went inside, and Daddy started timing my contractions. Except...they couldn't be timed yet, so he decided we should go to bed and try to rest. Only, that was NOT happening for me. I couldn't sleep, thinking of you and what was to come, so I decided to take a bath and give myself a good pedicure. I stayed in the tub until the water was no longer hot, then got into some comfy clothes and came down to lay on the couch. I slept off and on between contractions, and was up at 6 a.m. I went up the stairs, woke your Daddy, and he told me to call the Midwife. I called, but she was sure it was not yet time to go to the hospital because I was too calm. So we spent the rest of the day bouncing on the yoga ball and talking and trying to stay relaxed. We finally went to the hospital around 3 p.m., and they had me walk around to help labor progress. We called our moms and let them know we would call when it was ok for them to come down.

Hours later, there we were, looking at our family and knowing you were about to come into our world. Janice (the wonderful midwife who delivered you) came in and said it was time, so everyone else left, and it was just us (ok, really there were nurses there too, but it felt like just us to me). It took just over an hour for you to come into this world, and at 12:10 a.m. when Janice lifted you onto my chest, I couldn't find words to express how I felt. I was in shock, and I remember saying, "I did that." I've never done anything more perfect than having you.

Luca, you are everything a mom could ask for and more. Everywhere we go, people comment on your beauty. And you are a beautiful baby girl. Your eyes get the most compliments, because they are so large and expressive and your lashes are so long. And, because those eyes are so aware, so in tune. You have always been awake to the world around you, and those eyes are wiser and more alert than people expect in a baby so young. People also comment on how small you are, my little sprout. And when you were newly born, it made me sad and scared and worried and insecure to hear those comments. I feared I'd done something - was doing something - wrong and your size was a sign of that. But as you grow, you stay our little woodland fairy, and I know it's just how the universe made you. You are beautiful the way you were made, and I hope you remember that as you get older. I hope you never forget.

More than being beautiful though, I hope you grow up to be smart and kind and funny. How I hope for you to be funny! I hope you see the world as your playground and as your responsibility. I hope you care about others and always remember to be kind, most of all to the people you love. I know that's a lot to ask of a little baby, but you have time to learn those things. And what I see of you tells me I need not worry: you will be all these things and so much more than I can imagine. You are my heart outside my body, Luca. Your Daddy and I love you more than we knew possible, and we always knew we'd love you more than time and space itself. Sometimes it feels like there's not enough room in the world for the love we feel for it will come and steal the air from the room. There are moments of pure beauty, moments when you reach out to touch my face or unexpectedly trace your tiny fingers over the back of hand. In those moments I think I created something that is perfect, and I can't imagine my life getting any more full or complete.

This past year has been the best time of our lives. You were born, and we realized you were the thing that we were missing in our lives. Your Daddy and I love each other very much, and we know we are so lucky to have each other and to have you. And, about your Daddy? He adores you and loves you and protects you like no Daddy I've ever known. I don't think he even knew how much capacity for love he had, until the first moment he held you in his arms. You are the mini female version of him, and everyone says so all the time, and he just swells with pride. And why wouldn't he? You have helped make his life just that much more rich and complete.

You're 1, and I cannot believe it. This year has been so magical for us. People always say having a baby is hard work, and so sometimes I wonder if we just got off easy this time around. You have your moments, for sure, where I feel like it's more work than anything else. But those moments are rare, and eclipsed entirely by the hours and days of joy and love and happiness you bring to us, to our family. I feel lucky to be your mom, blessed to be married to your Daddy, and surrounded by the love of so many people.

Your birthday party was on Sunday. You'll never remember it, but one day you'll look back at the pictures. What will you see? Your Mommy and Daddy helping you open gifts. Your Great Grandma holding you on her lap. Your uncles helping ensure that you REALLY smash your ladybug cake. People and candy and gifts and cake. I see those things, but I also see our little community of people who love you more than words can say. You are lucky Luca, and we are as well, because we have so very many people rooting for us and supporting us. You make so many people happy, Luca. That may be the best gift of all.

I don't know what I ever did to get so lucky. But I am thankful every day that you're're ours.

Happy Birthday, Little One! Thank you for being my little sprout!

Love, Your Mommy!


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