Thursday, September 29, 2011

Birthday Everything

I've been planning Audrey's first birthday party in my head for a few months. I like to plan, but implementing ideas has always been troublesome for me. I get sooo stressed out and tend to just give up. BUT! This was my Audrey. I was determined to make it happen! The decorations turned out well and everything looked pretty and when it was all said and done I was very happy and satisfied with it all. We went with a "lemonade stand" theme. Josh made a lemonade stand as a prop for photos and it turned out so cute! The best part is that we can keep it for pretend play in the future. I got most of my inspiration for the party off of pinterest, so sadly not many of the ideas were my own. I think my favorite part of the decorations (other than the lemonade stand!) was the string of monthly photos I had. I just loved looking at her development from month to month. Right at four months is when she changed. She just looks different.

Originally, I had planned for us to go to the zoo on Friday (the day of her birthday). I was so disappointed to wake up Friday morning and see the nasty weather outside. Rain Rain Rain! It wasn't so much that I had my heart set on the zoo (well, that's a big part of it), but I also just didn't want the day to go by just like any other day. Unfortunately, that was kind of what happened. We hung out at the house with my mom (she flew in to celebrate!), Josh's mom, Lauren, me and Josh. We cooked and baked, opened presents, and had a yummy sausage pasta dinner with broccoli (Audrey's favorite!). Josh made a chocolate cake and Maria brought a cake as well, so there were many sweets for everyone. My plan was to fill the living room with balloons the night before her birthday so that when she woke she would be surprised and have a fun living room full of balloons to play with. And I totally would have done that if I had not fallen asleep at 8pm the night before. Oh well. Instead I just did it after we woke up in the morning, and she didn't seem to notice the difference. That's the beauty of a first birthday! They are unaware of it all!

For breakfast Josh made us all pancakes and made Audrey's pink. She also enjoyed some yummy strawberries. I'd say that's a good way to start your first birthday!

Man this is so delish!

Proud Papi

Audrey's party was on Saturday. We held it at Bull Run Park at one of the covered shelters. I was really stressing about the impending rain, but to my delight it held off all day. In fact, we even got some sunshine! With all the clouds and gloom lately it was such a nice surprise. Dad and Josh grilled up some burgers and dogs, Maria made arroz con gandules, we had cupcakes, cake, fruit, cheese, strawberry lemon bars, rice crispy pops, and lots more. Audrey has never had most of those foods so she was really in for a treat! She got soooo many presents that our living room now looks like a toy store, and her closet is like a fashion show!! Thank you everyone for all the gifts - Audrey is one happy little girl!
Audrey and Gigi 

Having so much fun

Her one year doctor's visit went great. She is 23lb 13oz and 30.5 inches tall, putting her in the 85th percentile for weight and 90th for height. The doctor says everything looks and sounds great, and for the first time ever she actually said Audrey's ears look perfect! That was like music to my ears! Hopefully we can make it through this fall and winter without any ear infections.
OMG  I'm one, already??
Yeahhhhh I'm one!
I could probably go on and on and on about her party, what's new with her, and a bunch of sappy stuff about how bittersweet this event was, but now that this is all over with I am just exhausted! Have a good night yall!

Friday, September 23, 2011

One Year Old

My precious beauty. Sweet girl. Little muffin.

Darling Audrey

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friday, September 23, 2011
She is such a happy, joyful little girl! We are so lucky and enjoy every day with her. Thank you all for being here for this first year with us!

A Prayer for my Daughter

On her first birthday, I pray: 

"First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her

When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes." 

If only I had the ability to put so eloquently into words exactly what I felt. Sadly, I do not, but Tina Fey does! This is an excerpt from her memoir, Bossypants. Although I didn't write this prayer, I sure do feel it, especially today. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Audrey figured out her ring stacker not too long ago and does pretty well with it. She hasn't quite figured out the concept of going from biggest to smallest when stacking them, though sometimes she gets it right.

I couldn't help but laugh last night when she was having trouble getting the rings on the stand. She got mad and knocked it over and hit it! I know the feeling, baby. So close, but just not there...

In other news....doesn't she look like a toddler? Not a baby anymore... that's becoming more and more apparent. A year ago today Josh and I were at the hospital having my external version (owwww!!!!) done to try and get Audrey to flip over. Didn't work! She was just too darn stubborn! We were anticipating her arrival, waiting patiently...and now its less than a week until her birthday...I'm still trying to figure out where the time has gone. I know that is so cliche to say, but it doesn't feel like its been a year. Yet at the same time, it feels like she has been here our whole lives. I can't remember what life was like before her and without her. 

There isn't much to update on lately. Josh and dad are working on the house nearly every day to try and get it ready for our big move in. I can't wait! We initially wanted to have it all done by her birthday, but that won't happen, there's just too much to do still. Audrey is becoming such a big girl and has been enjoying her days in the toddler room at day care. She is still struggling with the sippy cup and we are on our third different type to try and get her to take it. I am looking forward to her one year appointment on the 27th so that I can get the "ok" from the doctor to replace her bottles/sippy cups of breastmilk with whole milk. That means I can finally stop pumping at work! I will continue to nurse Audrey before and after work, but the pump is done. I am so happy and proud to have made it her whole first year without ever giving her any formula. It was trying at times, but I am so happy I did it. It was a goal that I made for myself, and I accomplished it. Yes!

Audrey and I are off to our first day of her "fun fit tots" class at the rec center. I am so excited! I often feel like I am missing out on the fun things that Stay-at-home-moms get to do with their kids, but luckily the Fairfax County Parks Authority offers many different weekend options for Mommy-and-Me classes that are affordable. This one lasts 8 or 10 weeks. I'll update you all with pictures when we get back!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Our New Home

Surprise! Everyone knew we have been searching for a new home for quite a while. Since we bought the last one, actually. When we moved into that condo, we realized it was just too small for our family if we want to continue to grow over the next few years. So sold the house (and made a profit!) and went back to the drawing board. Square one. The beginning. House hunting is not fun, at least not in a place like Northern Virginia where real estate prices are outrageous and the competition is fierce. Luckily, we were connected through my dad to the most amazing Realtor ever. He held our hand through the whole thing, was patient with us, told us when he thought we were making mistakes, gave us priceless advice, and has become a very close friend of our family. We really hit the jackpot there!
We didn't tell any of you about the house because we had had so many other opportunities fall through at various times. We were getting outbid on houses, or people were bringing cash, or whatever. We put so many offers on other properties. We got really tired of getting our hopes up and telling our friends and family about it just to have them fall through. We saw this house back in May and went ahead and put an offer on it and they accepted! It was a short sale, which meant that the process could take months to complete, but we were hoping for the best and that we could have it done somewhat quickly. That did not happen (it took over three months), but the happy truth is that it did eventually happen and now we have a new home. :)
We got an amazing deal. It is a four bedroom, 2 bathroom single family home in Manassas Park. It is a quarter acre lot with a fence all the way around and a little work shed in the back for Josh to put his tools. The sales price was perfect and the sellers even paid all of our closing costs. The only money I had to pay was our down payment. These are the good things. But there are bad things. Very bad things. The home inspection did not go well. In fact, the inspector's foot fell through the roof in one spot. So we have to repair the roof. The home has an addition on the side, and some of the electrical work on the addition was not done correctly, so we have to have that done as well. There are some minor plumbing issues that we are going to take care of. The bathrooms are ugly. Missing tiles, loose faucets, stuff like that. The carpets all need to be ripped out, and the paint in this house is horrific. Josh and I went back and forth on this house over the last 3 months trying to decide if we really did want to do all of this work.

What it really came down to were these things:
1. The house was priced the same as similar homes in similar condition that did NOT have the addition. They were just the original cape cods. So we were getting a lot of extra square footage for the same price.
2. We were keeping the cash we would have spent on closing so that meant we were able to use that cash to get started on repairs.
3. The house has A LOT of great potential. Josh and David (our Realtor) actually went and saw a house down the street with the exact same floor plan and addition that had been completely renovated, and it was gorgeous. That really showed Josh how much we can do to make it look really nice.
4. With our budget (we were extremely conservative - wanted the absolute lowest mortgage payment possible) there were not a whole lot of other options out there that were any better than this one. Near the end of this all, there were actually not ANY other options.

Josh and my dad went over to the house today and spent hours ripping up the carpet and padding and digging out nails. We are having a dumpster delivered on Tuesday so we can start demo'ing what we need to, and also because the old owner's left a bunch of their stuff there. We are having a roofer come out early next week to give us a quote and hopefully get started on that repair ASAP. Then we are going to do the electrical and the plumbing. Those are the big items. Once those are done we will have a better idea of where we stand financially and we will be able to decide what our next step will be.

I took pictures but I'm not going to share them because they are sooo bad! The house is a mess really. But we have so many friends and family already offering their help that I know we'll have it looking good in no time. Thank you all for your support and for offering to help. We WILL take you up on those offers!

Wow. That's a really wordy post. Did you make it this far? If so, you deserve something. Here's some Audrey for you, enjoying a lemon.
I'm sure you want some pictures, too. Enjoy!

Crazy morning bedhead