Joshua's one-year pedi appointment was this morning. Here are the facts and figures:

  • Weight 21 lbs. 7 oz. 25th percentile
  • Height 31" 80th percentile
  • Head 18" 25th percentile
He got tested for lead in the blood and got vaccinated for Hep. A, MMA, and his vision. (All is assumed normal and healthy unless otherwise notified.) Of course I was advised to transition Josh from bottle to cup very soon (I already anticipated this battle) and to move him on to cow's milk in the near future. The doc recommended a cold turkey approach to the transition of bottle to cup. I expect Josh to fully retaliate and hate me/us for it, but he needs to move on and I really want to stop washing bottles! The cow's milk issue is different. We can take a gradual approach to it until he realizes it's good and the only option besides water. I think I'll avoid juice until he's got the hang of cow's milk and using cups all the time. Also of note from the appointment- Josh hasn't really spoken a word yet, at least not clearly and repeatedly and in front of his parents. So we'll focus on one or two words until he gets the idea that making words leads to getting stuff he wants. Aside from not talking yet (which is somewhat normal for boys) he's as healthy and active as can be expected.

By the way, new pictures are online from this weekend:www.ringofsaturn.com/joshua We're working on how to upload video to the photo gallery, but that'll happen later once we figure it out.

Joshua had a great time celebrating his first birthday with friends and family. People came over at 1pm bringing gifts and greetings. We mingled and ate for a bit. Rusty made some yummy grilled chicken, fancy dips and bruschetta while I made finger foods for the babies (and grown ups) and a homemade birthday cake*. After eating and letting the babies play a bit, we migrated towards the dining room where I had Josh's high chair set up. We gave him a big piece of cake and waited with anticipation of the cake smashing and smearing. He was a bit slow to figure out it was something yummy to eat and gooey to play with. Rusty helped pick up the pace by spooning in a bite- afterwards the food tray was a mess of cake and frosting! Frosting was smeared ear to ear and cake crumb went all over the edge onto the plastic cover. After maybe ten minutes of cake smashing we cleaned Josh up then opened presents. He got lots of new clothes (yay!), a blocks-on-wires contraption, a cop car, a stuffed donkey, books, a Tiny Teddy Xylophone, and a kiddy pool. Once the toys were all tested (and kid approved) we moved to the backyard to let Josh splash around in the baby pool. He LOVED the baby pool! He splashed, squawked, laughed- had a blast! And it helped clean him up from the cake. He was done about 20 minutes later so I changed him and laid him down for a nap.

After the guests were gone I had a chance to clean, eat more cake and relax. I took my mom to the airport getting home just in time to leave for a church concert/picnic. Our church held a concert in the main sanctuary of Patriotic music. We stayed for most of the performance. Josh really enjoyed the music but he was also squirmy so we left after the "Battle Hymn of the Republic".

In all, it was a crazy busy day for us grown ups and a terrifically fun day for the tyke. He slept like, well like a baby- he hardly made a peep all night. Pictures are posted online with video coming soon. Now it's time for me to really relax before starting the week tomorrow.

*The homemade cake was a flop. I followed the recipe and directions to the T with the help of my mom and Emily, and it still wasn't good. The flavor wasn't tasty and the batter was more gooey than cake-like. To add insult to injury, my attempts to make frosting also flopped because one container of heavy cream went bad. So my mom and Emily dashed out to the store to buy a colorful chocolate cake from the bakery. Guests never suspected the cake distress I was in moments before they showed up.

Joshua is 12 months old! Hard to believe it's been a whole year! But just as bad luck would have it, he's sick on his very first birthday. Yesterday evening he came down with something giving him a high fever. He was in good spirits throughout the evening until he through up before his bedtime. He went to sleep 30 minutes earlier than normal and needed to be rocked back to sleep a couple times during the night. He's broke his fever after his morning nap but still didn't feel good this afternoon. He lacked an appetite and wanted to be held all day. Luckily he doesn't have the symptoms of a normal cold (no runny nose, coughing, or sneezing) so maybe whatever it is will be gone by Sunday. Tonight I plan to wash and disinfect all of his toys.

In honor of his first birthday, here is my birth story:

Joshua was due on May 13th by everyone's guess, but that day came and went without incident. It was exactly 11:44pm on May 24th that I felt my first real contraction. Rusty & I had just laid down to go to sleep when I felt it. I wrote down the time on a sheet of paper. About 10 minutes later came another. Then 15 minutes later, another. I was so excited that something was finally happening! During each contraction I would breath hard, tighten up a bit. I relocated myself to the living room sofa so that Rusty could get a good night's rest. I knew I would need all his help the next day. I kept writing down the contraction times off and on all night then finally gave up in the early morning and slept through them. By around sunrise I was certain I would have this baby so I called my midwife to let her know I had contractions all night and that she should be prepared for us later that day. I also called my mom and gave her the good news. Last, I called Emily, my best friend who agreed to attend the birth, and gave her the news. Rusty got up early that day realizing I wasn't in bed with him. After learning that I had had contractions all night, he called in to work to have the day off be with me. We had breakfast (pigs in a blanket), picked up around the house and did a few boring routine things. Around lunch time we decided to watch Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Since the last George Lucas film had recently come out, we wanted to watch the last three, er, first three, to finish the series.

Part way through the movie, a thunder storm rolled through. Taking a break from the movie, we looked at the weather on the Internet to learn that it was a small storm that would pass soon. We did other things to pass time while I continued to labor: Rusty played piano, we walked around the neighborhood after the rain passed, Rusty massaged my back, I packed the diaper bag and double checked the nursery to welcome our new baby. I remembered that I was scheduled for an appointment to check the amniotic fluid to make sure that was a healthy amount of fluid left. My midwife and I agreed that the appointment was irrelevant at this time. She suggested I soak in a warm bath to help slow things down and relax. Unfortunately, we didn't have enough hot water to fill our tub all the way so I abandoned that idea. We decided instead to go on another walk around the neighborhood and call Emily to catch the next plane out. This walk was cut short though when I felt a lot of pressure on my pelvis and it became uncomfortable to walk. We headed back home and I leaned over the dinning table for a couple of contractions. As the afternoon wore on and the sun began a slow descent, it was time to go to the birth center.

We left home around 5pm but since we were headed on small roads going opposite of rush hour traffic, we made great time getting to the birth center on Lover's Lane near Marsh. My midwife, Dinah, checked me right away to see where we were at: "Well, the good news is you're 100% effaced. The bad news is you're only 3cm dilated." She gave us three choices of what we wanted to do since I still had time- we could go home and come back later then contractions were closer together, we could stay at the birth center while she went home for a bit until we were further along, or we could all go on a walk around the neighborhoods behind the center and evaluated where we were after that. We'd been home all day so going back wasn't an option in our minds, and we didn't like the idea of being alone at the birth center so we went on a walk. A long walk! We played labor games alog the way, such, "Hey Sarah, do you think you'll have another contraction by the time we pass that orange truck?" and "How much do you think that house costs?" During each contraction, I would lean on Rusty or Dinah while the other person rubbed my lower back. When we got back to the birth center, I rested on the bed while Rusty went to the airport nearby to pick up Emily. Although he was gone only 15 minutes, I had three contractions while resting on the bed. When Emily arrived, we decided we still had more time so we walked down two blocks to a restaurant to order a quick dinner. We sat on the patio eating our dinner (I ordered trout and broccoli) and half way through our dinner I was hardly able to sit still. My contractions were increasing and getting stronger. We wrapped up the meal early and walked back to the birth center. I don't think I'll ever forget that two block walk. The weather was perfect, the sun was ripely setting, everyone was excited for what would happen that night.

When we got back, I tried sitting on a birthing ball but it wasn't big enough for my long legs. I sat backwards on the toilet for a long time while Emily massaged my lower back. Rusty ran to the store to get coffee while I sat there. My midwife filled the tub with warm water for me to relax in but it was too hot for me. After several minutes of adding cold water to cool it down, I was able to relax a bit and put in my contacts. I wanted to make sure I could perfectly see my newborn. I wasn't very comfortable in the tub though so I got out and labored on the bed. I didn't realize it at the time but my water broke while I was in the tub. As soon as I got out, things got much more intense and moved along quickly.

At one point, I could see the bump of a tiny little foot pushing on the top of my stomach during a contraction. I said excitedly, "I can see him pushing!" Hearing the word push got everyone's attention but I wasn't quite ready to start pushing yet. It was about 10:30pm when I finally felt the urge to push. Dinah listened to the baby's heartbeat to make sure it was strong and beating normal. I got up on all fours ready for a new position when a particularly strong contraction stopped me. Rusty came around to the side of the bed in front of me while Emily sat on a chair on the corner near us. I held on to his shoulders for support while pushing in an inclined position. Each push was very painful and I could feel the tightened of the cervix more and more. Luckily Mother Nature has completely blocked the sensation of that pain from my memory, but I know I was in pain laboring! I remember saying “O-O-O-O” during my contractions to signal their duration and strength. I also remember I couldn’t hold my breath- I was panting. Dinah held a mirror for me to see the head cresting but I wasn't able to look. I continued pushing a little more taking a mental rest and drinking between each push. During one break Emily spotted what she thought was a grass hopper on the window screen. I clearly remember yelling "I don't give a fuck about any grasshopper! I'm having a baby!" That broke the tension in the room as everyone laughed. That was also my only swear word! Turns out, what she really saw was a praying mantis- which some believe is a sign of good luck! Near the end of my pushing, I had what's called a transition. That's when women have a feeling that they can't labor anymore. Well my transition was a contraction or two before the last push. I remember telling Rusty "I can't do this; it's too hard!" with which he assured me I was almost done. I pushed a little more then out came the head followed very quickly by the rest of the baby! I pushed for only 40 minutes or so.

Whew! Labor pains were OVER! And there was our newborn! He was all purple and slimy and made this tiny little cry. I held him on my chest covered in a tiny blanket for nearly ten minutes just staring at him. I couldn't believe that just moments ago he was inside of me! Everyone paused to take in the moment. He was born May 25th at 11:08pm weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces and 19 inches long.

The midwife cut the umbilical cord and I realized at that moment my newborn was no longer physically part of me. He breathed on his own and had all the normal reflexes of a brand new baby. He got a shot of vitamin K but no ointment for his eyes. Rusty and Dinah took the baby to the bathroom sink to clean him off while the midwife's assistant checked my pulse, blood pressure, and vital signs. After I passed the placenta, I was helped into a shower to clean off. I had a small tear that the midwife sutured with three stitches. Next, the midwife weighed and measured the newborn and got blood samples from his heals. We took our first picture of him held by the midwife on the bed- which was also his first pee! Merely three hours after the baby was born, we packed our things and drove home. That night, Rusty and I laid in bed listening to our new baby sleep between us. We were finally a family of three!

Oy! It's hot in Texas! This week is a solid 90+ degrees all week. I took Josh to the park this afternoon but we got overheated- especially me, I was pushing the stroller. Today was a relatively good day. We skipped out on a mommy-baby event at the Plano Art Centre due to Josh napping late. Rusty's mom reminds e that Rusty dropped his second nap right around 12 months, but I don't think that's Josh's style. He's pretty serious about his late morning nap and late afternoon snooze.

I've decided to make Josh's birthday cake entirely by hand. 100%. Cake and frosting. After looking at the ingredients of frosting from Pillsbury, the number two ingredient after sugar is partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil. I realize he's not going to eat a bunch of frosting (he'll probably smear it everywhere), but I just can't seem to bring myself to serve up such an unhealthy treat. So here's what I'm making:

Baby's First Birthday Cake (Carrot Cake)
(Makes 1 double-layer 9-inch cake, adapted from "What to Expect")

2 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots
2 1/2 cups apple juice concentrate (you may use slightly less)
1 1/2 cups raisins
Vegetable Spray/Shortening
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 whole eggs
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 Tbsp low sodium baking powder
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
________________________________________
1. Combine the carrots with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the juice concentrate in a medium size saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until carrots are tender, 15 to 20 mins.
3. Prep oven: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two 9 inch cake pans with waxed paper and spray the paper with vegetable spray/shortening.
4. Puree carrots in a blender or food processor until smooth.
5. Add the raisins and process until finely chopped. Let mixture cool.
6. Combine the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 1/4 cups juice concentrate, the oil, eggs, egg whites, and vanilla; beat just until well mixed. Fold in the carrot puree and applesauce. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans.
7. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 mins. Cool briefly in the pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. When cool, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
________________________________________
1. In a small bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside.
2. In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until smooth, then fold in whipped cream.

In other news, Rusty is planning a business trip to San Diego for several days in early June. I'm considering a short trip to either the panhandle or Austin to keep myself preoccupied. The ugly truth is, I'm terribly co-dependant. Being co-dependant only works out if you're married. This works out great 90% of the time. But then there's the 10% of the time that Rusty leaves for more than a couple nights and I find myself seeking companionship from friends to fill the gaps

Gosh, so much has happened over the week!

This last weekend we celebrated Matt & Sam's wedding. It was beautiful! If one was to look through their photo album today they'd see the wedding party and family laughing it up at Maggiano's after the wedding rehearsal, the classy Perkins Chapel on SMU's campus, seven grooms and bridesmaids, four ushers (Rusty was lead usher), guests all dressed up and having a great time, a charming reception hall in the Melrose Hotel where everyone enjoyed food, wine, dancing and all the traditional wedding events. We lit sparklers as the wedded couple made their escape- it was a picture perfect wedding all around!

Leading up to the wedding events, we welcomed Matt & Oana to stay at our home for a couple nights. They arrived from Vancouver tired but ready to eat as much Mexican and Tex-Mex food as they could possibly muster! Matt had fun playing with Josh and taking pictures. We even went on a couple adventures together: a visit to the Dallas Arboretum and the Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum in Plano.

Over the coarse of the weekend, we lined up four babysitters! Friday, Rachel Clark visited for a few hours taking care of Joshua while we attended the rehearsal dinner. Saturday afternoon Dorothy took care of Josh during the ceremony then friend Rick Caudill watched Josh for the evening during the reception. On Sunday, Josh played at Melissa's house for a couple hours while Rusty & I were social with friends. Josh had such a great time the whole weekend I doubt he noticed we left!

Tuesday we went to Arbor Hills to celebrate Josh's first birthday. One of the moms made a cake for everyone (Josh didn't have any) and about a dozen of us with strollers and babies kept company in the picnic area while I chased Josh around the playground area keeping from getting hurt or too far away.

I bought him a new pair of shoes this week. Sandals from StrideRite. Now that Josh is walking more and more, it's time he gets used to shoes, especially when we go the park. This week also starts the first steps in getting him off the bottle and on to using his sippy cup. I haven't introduced cow's milk yet, but I think that's coming soon too.

I watched as Josh did something new today. Usually he takes things 'off' and 'out' of something like taking toys out of baskets or off the shelf. Today he took his colored plastic blocks and placed them out of the basket then in the container they belong. Perhaps in no time he can start cleaning his own messes!

I've begun the process of weaning him from the bottle to cups. I was waiting for a couple cups to arrive in the mail (I sent away for free cups from Enfamil but they ran out of cups so things got back ordered) but since it'll be another month to get those, I'll have to make do with the Munchkin cups and his favorite Nuby cup. I need to teach him not to shake the cup though. He does this when he's done and wants to play and shaking results in milk splatters everywhere.

I'm reading The DaVinci Code and I'm hooked! I'm making this a short blog so I can read some more. Lots is going on though so here's a quick list of news:

  • He's moving closer towards one nap a day. He still favor late mornings to rest.
  • He's become less picky with food again- yay!
  • I'm getting my hair cut today. I hope Josh is patient during my appointment.
  • Josh is walking more than crawling. He still can't get to standing without the support of something.
  • I'm making invitations for his birthday party- May 28 is the date we'll celebrate.
  • Josh is quickly out growing his "12 months" clothes. He's now closer to fitting "18 months" clothes.
  • Josh has one pair of shoes that we recently got him to wear. He walks OK in them but it adds a challenge to his penguin like toddle.
  • We have a wedding to attend this weekend. With all the excitement of guests and things going on, we'll be using four babysitters over the weekend!

They say life gets busier when the baby learns to walk. For me, it's not so much THAT he can walk (he just started last week but this week he can officially walk across a room and beyond) but because he's sleeping less in the day. What was a roller coaster of nighttime wakings and need for soothing two weeks ago is now a roller coaster of unpredictable naps. Twice this week he cat-napped in the morning opting for a longer snooze in the afternoon, but then flipped on me yesterday by taking a long morning nap and no afternoon nap. Today is also funky: wake at 6am (despite my pleas to go back to sleep), nap from 7:30-10am, then nap again in the afternoon- which is now as I type. So I'm having to go with the flow on this one.

Josh is learning so many things, besides walking- which he does either with arms out for balance like a mini Godzilla or with hands waving because he's so excited that he can walk. Yesterday he surprised me by taking the spoon an inserting it into his mouth with food on it. I was worried he would wave the spoon around or toss it on his head (that's a new thing, stuff on the head is apparently funny) but he didn't. He repeated with varied success. Now the trick is to get him to put food on the spoon then deliver it to his mouth. I think I'll try with yogurt.

Monday I've agreed to show a few moms how to make baby food. I'm still making Josh's food though it's a heck of a lot easier with him eating finger foods. No more puree, yay! His diet lately consists of sweet potato cubes, pear, cheese, toast, yogurt, beans, peas and carrots. The peas and carrots I cheated by buying a mini can on a whim thinking he probably wouldn't be interested so it would only be a $.45 loss. After he ate that up I got a bag from the freezer section. The frozen foods are better because they don't lose their nutrients in the water and probably taste better than canned. And it's cheaper!

Tonight is symphony night. Rusty & I have a date for dinner then Copland's Appalachian Spring Ballet Suite (sounds... soothing) and Elgar's Enigma Variations. Rusty's mom agreed to watch Josh at her house. Grandparents are so great! :-)

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