Saturday, January 31, 2009

Warning: Bed Head!!

When I went in to get Eileigh this morning I had a surprise waiting for me!! The most serious case of Bed Head I have yet seen on Eileigh- I enjoyed it so much I just had to share!! :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cat trap!

Well, okay, not really a cat trap... it just sounded better than plain old cat door. Or cat door that traps child.
Eileigh discovered our cat door from the kitchen to the garage. I had wondered how long it would be before discovery- turns out, not long. She loves being in the kitchen with me and generally cruises all along the walls/cupboards/refrigerator to wherever she thinks she might want to go. When she finally noticed the cat door she realized quickly that she could see out (the garage door was open so she could see outside) and would hold it open, bend or squat down, and peek through the opening. It was hilarious... until the door swung shut on top of her fingers. It didn't hurt her (at least she didn't appear distraught), it just captured her fingers and then wouldn't let me move it out or in. I finally had to give it a big push to free her- of course she was just fine and wanted to keep playing with it. Apparently that will go on the list of things that are useful for both cats and children, along with rattles, milk, Cheerios and clean laundry (like a moth to a flame so is a sleepy cat or wily child to clean laundry).
Also, just to note, that insanely crazy hair-do was carefully constructed through the combination of damp, post-bath hair and a nap up against the bumpers in her crib, with the final touches being made by her scooting on her back all along the crib once she awakened. Please let me know if you need any further instruction to recreate this look on your child. I think it could become a trend...


Although I originally wasn't planning on having a birthday party for Eileigh, we had a great excuse to throw one when Mike's parents decided to come down and visit! I decided to go the easy route and did a taco/tortilla/nacho bar with all the fixings, ordered a free first-year birthday cake from Albertson's for Eileigh and whipped up an Oreo cake for the adults (see recipe below). Mike is a gem and took care of most of the house chores- vacuuming, mopping, etc. while I prepped for the evening.
Eileigh wasn't too sure about the cake at first- I made a wish and blew out the candle for her (not that she cared...)

Eileigh didn't quite know what to do with the cake at first and mainly ate frosting by the globs after poking it to death with her finger.

We had a great time with everyone, Mike's parents, his sister and her husband and two boys, my parents, my sisters and their men (one husband, one husband-to-be), and of course baby Boone.

Eileigh must have figured out early on that it was an Event Day and decided to officially crawl for the first time!!! She's really been working on it for the last week and all of a sudden on Saturday morning started to crawl (and continued to crawl everywhere), climbed up the stairs, and sat up from a laying-down position. We were pretty excited- she has her 12 month appt. with the pediatrician on Thursday and I was not really looking forward to telling her that my one-year old wasn't crawling yet (although walking everywhere along everything)!! I seriously had convinced myself that Eileigh was just going to walk first and then I'd have her crawl after the fact for all of that hand-eye coordination garbage.... :) Kidding. But yay! Now I don't have to *worry* about it. However, I am now facing an entirely different brand of problems- those involving mobility. She already climbed up the stairs- the entire flight- this morning all by herself. Unbelievable. I think she will be getting a couple of baby gates for her birthday from us. Any recommendations from anyone?
And a heartfelt thanks to our family who celebrate with us: a year of Eileigh's introduction to our world, family, and lives, and for their presents and presence- we are so appreciative and thankful for your generosity, love and blessings!

Chocolate-Covered Oreo Cookie Cake

Since we got a free one-year birthday cake for Eileigh from Albertson's, I decided to make something else for us more along the chocolate persuasion. This cake was incredibly simple and easy to make and really tasted great with the different textures and flavors of the glaze and filling.

Chocolate-Covered Oreo Cookie Cake

1 pkg (2-layer size) devil's food chocolate cake mix
4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate (I just melted 4 ounces of semi-sweet baking chips)
1/4 c. butter
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. Cool Whip, thawed
12 Oreo cookies, coarsely crushed *(I only used 12 but would recommend 18 cookies or so)

- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare and bake cake mix as directed on package in two 9-in. round baking pans. Cool 5 min.; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
- Microwave butter until melted, stir in chocolate until completely melted. Cool 5 min.
- Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on meium speed until well blended. Gently stir in whipped topping and crushed cookies. Place 1 cake layer, top-side down, on serving plate. Spread top of layer evenly with cream cheese mixture. Cover with remaining cake layer, top-side up. Spoon chocolate glaze over top of cake. Let stand until set. Store in refrigerator.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Baby is One!

Today is Eileigh's birthday- One year old! I can't believe I am the mother of a one year old. First I couldn't believe I was a mom, a mom of a preemie, etc., etc. It just keeps on going. I know that I will be saying this (well, thinking it at least) with every year and every milestone that passes. But time really does go by so fast. Eileigh surprised us (five weeks early) one year ago today at 12:04am after an intense four hour labor, weighing 5 lbs., 7 and 3/4 ounces. and measuring 18 inches long.

She has grown and changed so much. I look back at pictures and video we took after she was born and I find myself thinking of that newborn as a completely different baby. There is newborn Eileigh, who slept all the time, was completely helpless and was the object of my great joy and anxiety. And then there is my daughter, the Eileigh that makes funny faces, laughs and waves, walks everywhere holding on to everything, and likes to keep me in her sight and often grasp so I don't get too far away. She has a smile that makes my heart sing. She is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and probably the most life-changing. Well, perhaps I should clarify that God has used her to challenge, stretch, change and bless me in ways that I never have been before and never would be if she were not in my life. Parenting and being a parent are two of the greatest challenges and blessings that there are. All in all, I am one incredibly blessed woman, wife and mother!! And for that I give all thanks and praise to God!

Happy Birthday! Kinda Jenae!

I finally booked our return trip to Bonneville Hot Springs and Resort. Our first trip had been for our one-year wedding anniversary, Mike surprising me by taking me to Bonneville and to ride the Mt. Hood dinner train. We had such a great time then that we have always planned to go back at some point and I recently felt I had the best justifications in the world! I wanted to reward myself for finishing an arduous year-long journey of exclusively pumping and it just so happened that my birthday fell on the weekend we could go. When I called to book our reservations the woman asked if we were celebrating anything. I hemmed and hawed and stumbled verbally for awhile since I couldn't figure out how to mention to polite society my true reasons for celebration (i.e. completion of the tortuous rigors of EP'ing). And although not the only reason, my birthday was still a justified, albeit minor, cause for additional celebration. In my opinion. So I said, "My birthday... kinda." She asked my name about the same time. I spelled it, the same on my credit card thank you very much. And that was that. Until we arrived and checked in to our room.
There greeting me was a welcome sign straight out of the Reader's Digest Bloopers at the End of the Articles, "Happy Birthday! Kinda Jenae!" Beautiful. Tears welled in my eyes as I tried to stop laughing. Seriously, this was personalized and made from your regular, run-o-the-mill computer printer. By a human being. How do you...? Wouldn't you...? How does this happen? I have no explanation and only some sore ribs from laughing every time my brain gets tickled by the memory of this hilarious misunderstanding. I never thought something like this might ever happen to me! Perhaps what tops it all off is that they even spelled my name- the Jenae part of my name anyways- correctly! After 27 years of having my first name mispelled (even by people who have my name already spelled out in front of them), my name was finally spelled correctly- only with the addition of Kinda. I am Jenae no longer, but Kinda Jenae! How cool is that. Fairly similar to "Just Joan", I think- who made it to Hollywood. I wonder what this next year might have in store for me, since I am just Jenae no longer.
Whatever I may be called, we did have a fabulous time. It was our first overnighter away from Eileigh and I believe we all did great, although Eileigh appears to be suffering from a bout of spoiled-itis due to close contact with Grammie while we were gone. But it was definitely worth it! I enjoyed two-and-a-half hours in the spa and have realized that there will be spas in Heaven. It will be part of the Agape love division- you can show true love to someone by giving them a massage... I received an 80 minute massage after an hour-long mineral bath and wrap and actually thought I could possibly already be in Heaven. Watch for my book, 140 minutes in Heaven. I tried my hardest to stay awake so that I could fully enjoy every moment of pampering, but I am forced to admit that I drifted off in bliss every now and then. It was wonderful, to say the least. Don't ask me to pump another year to earn that reward though- I'll turn you down! Mike and I discussed on the drive if there were ANYTHING tangible that could coerce me to EP for an entire year with a preemie/newborn/etc. and I have yet to find something that could. I don't even know if I'd do it for a million dollars, literally. But when I look at my baby's chubby, healthy, happy face and know that it is because of me- I know that it has been worth it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

More Pics from Hiking

Papa and Eileigh before the BBQ and Eileigh trying out her new sneakers

Sweet boy Boone

Eileigh has been really "in" to tapping (petting?) things with just one finger... Boone was the object of her finger's affection at this point in the afternoon

Hiking Valley of the Giants

The last (and previously ONLY) time I had hiked Valley of the Giants was 10 years ago. A lot has changed in 10 years and this time I had a husband and a daughter to hike with! The trip to get there was as least as long as I remembered it being, but made better by the company of my sister Emi and her fiance David. Eileigh rode forward-facing for the very first time and her enjoyment was definitely the highlight of the drive. At times she nearly shrieked with excitement and kept us occupied figuring out the most effective method to get her to pipe down! Perhaps earplugs might be the best solution for now. (Actually, playing music- specifically Norah Jones- is a great way to get her to quiet down. Maybe because I listened to that CD all the time when I was pregnant with her).
When we reached the old town of Valsettes we pulled over and BBQ'd some hot dogs on our BabyQ Weber grill. We topped those off with fixings, chips, apples and cookies- you know, standard picnic fare- and then were on our way.

Mike carried Eileigh almost the entire time in a hiker backpack (well, that's what I call it- I don't know the official title). We did take her out towards the end for a little photo op with a tree but she ended up back in the pack for the remainder of the trip when she grew too heavy to carry in our arms. I say "our" meaning Mike's. No way I could carry her uphill. I could barely drag myself up the hill!! Just kidding! :)

The hike was absolutely breathtaking at some points. It was very cold out but as long as we kept moving we were fine- even warm at some points! There was still some snow on the ground and even ice on the bridge but the trail was fairly dry for the most part. We finished the hike and agreed to return at some point in the future- hopefully before the next 10 years has passed!! All in all, a great way to spend a birthday- with my loved ones on a beautiful day in God's incredible creation!!!