Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Friday, July 1, 2016

June, 12 Month Update

Our girl turned 13 months on June 26th, so for the majority of the month, she was 12 months old.

Her first birthday came and went and I still found myself 13 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. So I started the month with a commitment to loose those last pounds and also, a plan. Thirteen pounds in one month is a bit unrealistic, so I set the goal of loosing 10. My plan was to order ready-made paleo meals from Freshly (then, I tried Hello Fresh and Blue Apron), run more during my lunch breaks, supplement with protein shakes, do some weight-training (mostly squats and lunges) and join a weight-loss challenge with a few friends: eight friends at $30 each, winner takes $240. I was all set to win (at least in my mind) until my friend Delia upped the ante and went on a double century bike ride (that's 200 miles, folks) a few days before our weigh-in. I did end the month with a 10 pound weight-loss and, more importantly, healthier.

Because I was running 2-3 days each week during my lunch break, I wasn't able to visit her those days, which was tough on me. To make myself feel better, I tried to remember that although this was less time spent with her, it would help me live longer, ultimately giving me more time with her. Running also gives me such a mood-boost and a lot more energy. I cherished those lunch visits that I did have with her even more.

On the first Monday of the month, I showed to her daycare up around 10:30 am. Her back was to me as I entered the play-yard and I was able to watch her for awhile without her knowing I was there. She was sitting on the ground, watching the kids from the older classes walk by, on their way to the other play-yard. Keeping my distance, I saw her outstretch her arm, palm open, above her head. Several kids walked by before one of them bent down and gave her a high five. A few more passed, then another high five. Bless her heart, I thought, in my Mom's voice. I looked at one of the workers with a huge smile on my face and she told me "She does this every day. Sometimes a whole class will go by and give her high-fives" A germ-a-phobe's worst nightmare, but one of the cutest things I have ever seen, and something I will always remember.

Although she took her first steps on May 17th, she was not a steady walker until June 7th. It was so strange to catch her out of my periphery and see her little head higher off the ground as she walked around the house instead of crawling. Although still frequently falling gently to the ground, this was the first day that she really seemed to walk more than she crawled. And just like that, she became a walker. I love how she keeps her arms in front of her for balance, sort of like a tiny, cute zombie. She is so excited to be walking and seems quite proud of her accomplishment. She now walks all around the house and backyard too!



That first week in June daycare told us that we no longer needed to bring bottles to daycare. This came as a surprise to me because we were used to packing four of them, full of milk. We still send her with milk just in case it is needed when we pick her up (we have had a lot of appointments after work), but they now supply any milk she needs and give it to her in her sippy cup. I was happy to learn that she was eating enough food, and started to branch out what I was serving her. 

She loves mac and cheese, so I started making my own in the crock pot. It's so easy, just follow this recipe. I also like food that I can make ahead of time and freeze, especially when it has healthy ingredients hidden inside, like this recipe for toddler banana muffins with flax seed, wheat germ and quick oats. I even made extra and caught my husband snacking on them! I also made her a smoothie that weekend with greek yogurt, milk, flax seed, spinach, blueberries and mango.


We went whale watching that second weekend in June, and the highlight of the trip was when our little one saw a group of sea lions hanging out on a buoy and excitedly exclaimed "dog!" While it was great company with my friend since 6th grade and her family, we didn't really see much of the one lone whale that we trailed slowly while the boat rocked back and forth (Word to the wise: ask your spouse if they get sea-sick on boats prior to booking). We all went to dinner afterwards and I was a bit sad to realize that we would not all be getting again together until August or September because of our summer travels. Around the time we return from Europe, they head up to Alaska for a cruise. 

That Sunday, we purchased a couch at Living Spaces and our girl had a blast walking all around the store, exploring each new living room setting with me trialing closely behind. I realized that any place is an adventure for her, not just designated kid's places. She honestly had as much fun exploring that store as she did when we went to Pretend City children's museum!

As the school year started to come to a close, we started to get excited about our summer travel plans to Europe and months of uninterrupted time together and adventures. I do not know how the rest of the world not in education makes it through with just 2 weeks off plus holidays. I've always treasured my summers off, but not nearly as much as I do now with our little Bean.

Father's Day was a time to celebrate having the World's Best Dad a man that is "good enough." This started as a joke last year, when he requested that the photo plaque I was planning to get him said that instead of "World's Best Dad." This year, I found him a shirt that had a ship on it and read "I sail on the S.S. Good Enough." 

On June 20th, she repeated her very first word by request. I said "Baby A, say bye." and was shocked when she repeated "Byeeeeeeee!"  Right now, it is the only word she will repeat on command. I will ask her to repeat several different words, all followed by silence, until I say "Bye!"

As the school year drew to a close, it was so nice to have several minimum days with her, and to be able to bring her with me to work for our end of the year staff meeting, before taking her to the beach. She did not want to sit on my lap. Instead, she wanted to wander all around the library, where the meeting was held. As our principal was speaking, she toddled by him, eliciting interaction from him and interrupting his train of thought. Everyone commented on how happy she was.

Her being on the go so much has us really nervous about our upcoming flights. We have 10 hours to Heathrow, a layover of a few hours, and then 4 hours to Vienna! When we booked the flights, almost a year ago, she was obviously not mobile! People in business class who actually paid thousands of dollars for their seats (we booked ours with miles) are going to love us, as I pass their seat with her walking in front of me for the 40th time.

Her last day of daycare was June 27th, and I was actually sad that she would not see her playmates again until the end of August. It's amazing to think about the compete 180 I've done, from being so reluctant to leave her there, to not wanting her not to go!
See ya, daycare! Last day until the end of August.
Her desires and tiny emotions began to emerge toward the end of the month. She did start to develop some separation anxiety from me, even when I was still with her, but needed to put her down. While she often plays on her own, there are certain times, such as when I'm running late and trying to get ready, that she just wants to be held. I can do a lot of things with her on my hip, but apply mascara is not one of them. When she wants to be held and I put her down, she will start to cry and will even reach her arms up to me. Not picking her up when she's like this is one of the most difficult things in the world, but I am careful to not reinforce her behavior. Instead, I reassure her with words and pick her up as soon as it subsides.

My husband is a special education teacher and I'm a school counselor. I don't consider myself to be a behavior export by any means, but he dubs himself as one. Between us, we have seen so many behaviors exhibited by children that are actually the result of parenting, and it starts when they're little. Behavior is created, not innate. I've seen children as young as a year or two be reinforced for "bad" behaviors, when the parent thinks they are doing the opposite and curbing the behavior. I put bad in quotes, because their is not such thing as a bad kid. Adults, yes...kids, no. 

For example, many children are only given attention for their off-task behavior. When they are playing nicely, they're ignored. But the second they do something wrong, the parent is down at their level explaining  why what they did is wrong (something a baby or even toddler developmentally cannot grasp), with the attention being extremely rewarding and the behavior likely to repeat or even increase. We try to be mindful of this, though so far there are very few situations it is relevant. The only example that comes to mind is that she wants to walk frequently and will sometimes now squirm or whine when we are out and she wants down. I will verbally tell her that I understand that she wants to walk by saying something like "You want down. Soon!" and then I will wait until she stops fussing (usually about 10 seconds later) and let her down. Distraction also works well right now, and there is seemingly nothing that an impromptu game of peek-a-boo can't fix.

At the very end of the month, she slept through the night completely (until 6:45), instead of waking for a 2am or 5am feeding. I think now that she is getting more substantial food, it is sustaining her. At first, it was difficult for me to give her less milk and have more food on hand because I wasn't used to it. But I found I can make things like multi-grain mini pancakes (adding flax seed and blueberries) and have them on hand for when she wakes up. On the 30th, she ate a whole one of these (it was a mini) and only drank 2 ounces of milk which was huge progress for us both! I do worry about what I will do for food while we're traveling (we leave in 3 days!), but our first hotel in Vienna does include breakfast, and I am packing a lot of pre-cut Gerber fruits, veggies, snacks and mini-meals.

Milestones:
  • Walks independently, everywhere
  • Imitating us: brushing her hair, raising her arm
  • Says dog, bye and uh-oh 
  • Tries to lift heavy things, and will carry them for awhile
  • Opens her mouth and says "Ahhhhhhhhh" when prompted, a "skill" we're teaching her in case she puts something in there and we don't know what it is
  • Takes objects in and out of containers. She transferred the earplugs we had ordered for our trip from one box, into our cleaning person's box of trash, and loves putting clothes and other random objects into the clothes hamper in her room.
  • Tries to put shapes (circle, square, triangle) in the sorter, but will give to me or take off lid after few attempts.
  • Blows kisses
  • Picks dandelions 
  • Follows simple directives such as "Bring me the book." 
  • Can open and close most doors
  • Crawls up stairis 
  • Knows how to get off the bed, tummy first
Things I don't want to forget about this month:
  • Walking around the house with a small towel or shirt over her head
  • Repeating "Byeeeeeeeee!"
  • "Uh-oh!"
  • When we're out and about and she sees another kid around her same age, they will walk up to each other and just stare. 
  • How she will climb on top of me to fall back asleep
  • When I say "The birdies are going to get you" she smiles and crawls into my arms.
  • How she points and then quickly retracts her arm.
  • Wandering around Pacific City in HB and how she walks out in front of people and in and out of stores
  • Seeing her in the pink and white dress I crocheted for her while I was pregnant. 
  • Those spontaneous kisses which I cannot refuse, even when she has a runny nose
New Foods and favorites:
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Multi-grain pancakes, with butter
  • Cow's milk, no more formula. About 16 ounces per day
  • Peaches
  • Adding ground flax seed to her food, like pancakes
  • Tried (and liked!) a kale slaw that I made, with a mayonnaise and vinegar dressing!
  • Baked sweet potato "fries"
  • Avocado, avocado, avocado

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