Thursday, June 21, 2012

Matters of the Heart and Other Random Things

Clare had her 1-year check-up yesterday. During the visit, the doctor asked me, “Have I ever said anything to you about Clare having a heart murmur?” Um, no. She heard a slight murmur, and wants Clare to have an ultrasound to make sure everything is normal. She made it VERY CLEAR that this is very common, and in all likelihood she is FINE and that I am NOT to worry about it. So of course I have been worrying about it ever since. I don’t want to hear that my baby has a heart murmur! I want to hear that she is perfect in every way. She doesn’t go in for the Echo until July 11, so I am trying hard not to obssess about it. I did stand over her crib for several minutes listening to her breathe last night, though. I am not crazy or anything!

The good news is the rest of the check up went well, aside from those nasty shots, which she held against Ben for awhile because he was down by her legs when they were given to her. She was NOT happy with him. She has not grown much since her last appointment – she is a mere 20 pounds and 30 inches long – which is 33rd percentile for weight and 67th percentile for length. She has a big head, though. 91st percentile there. No baseball caps for her! (I have a large head myself, and look ridiculous in ball caps.) ANYWAY. The doctor said she is growing just fine.

Last weekend we went to Duluth for Grandma’s Marathon. (My heart goes out to that town now, dealing with that awful flooding - especially to my sister and brother-in-law, whose car may or may not be underwater right now.) Ben ran the FULL MARATHON, because he is a crazy person. Clare found it to be a great location for napping.

Race? What race?
My sister ran the half – they both did a great job. It is so interesting to watch those races – some people look like they are just out for a jog, while others look like they are about to collapse in a heap of sweat and tears. One of my goals in life is to never run a marathon – so hey, I’ve accomplished it. I do admire those that can do it, though.

Note Ben's grimace. Katie looks fine.
On Sunday we went to watch the Brewers play the Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis. It rained. The whole time I was wondering why they didn’t put a roof on that stadium. Target Field is quite nice, though, on a sunny day.

Clare has her own homemade poncho. Appropriate, yes?
Even though Ben had to stand under the upperdeck with Clare for most of the game (she took a nap, of course), it was still a lovely Father’s Day weekend. And Clare even reached another important milestone: eating her first deep fried cheese curds. She loved them, of course. But who wouldn’t?

I do not know what is happening here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


For the first hour or so of Clare's life, she and Ben snuggled in a hospital chair. Clare slept. I think Ben dozed a bit himself.

 It seems to have created a special bond - a common activity they both enjoy.

 Sometimes the cat joins in.

 I mean, really. Who needs a bed when you've got Daddy?

All the napping aside, Clare adores her Daddy. Sometimes, during the day, she'll look over at the front door. "Dada?" She asks. I explain to her that he is at work. She goes back to playing. As soon as he gets home, though, she lights up like a million bazillion Christmas trees.

I know if she could, she would say thanks for being the best dad a girl could ask for. Since she can't, I'll say it for her: Ben, you rock. Happy Father's Day!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's My Baby's Party and I'll Faint if I Want To

So I didn't faint at the party, but doing so several hours beforehand was enough to cast a shadow over the day. I was in the bathroom and suddenly felt extremely hot and nauseous. The next thing I knew, I was laying in my shower, battered and bloodied. Even three days later, my nose is bruised, my lip swollen and sore, my neck aching. I didn't go to urgent care on Saturday, despite a deep laceration on the inside of my lip, because I would have missed Clare's party. By Sunday, it was too late for stitches, so I am just waiting for it to (painfully) heal.  Injuries aside, I am fine. The doctor thinks my blood pressure dropped suddenly, and this is not the first time I've fainted. The result was that I was slightly out of it at Clare's party. However, Clare had a blast, and all of the friends and family that came to see her were thoroughly entertained by her antics. And that's what matters, right?

We had a cookout at my parents' house, complete with presents and cake. What more could a birthday girl ask for?

The decorations:

I made a poster with all of Clare's monthly photos from this blog.
I went for a butterfly theme. I even made party favors - clothespins with butterfly stickers, holding pictures of Clare.
The presents:

Clare got lots of great presents: toys, puzzles, books, a Big Bird doll, a family photo album complete with pictures - and this doll, knitted by my friends Christina and Amanda. Clare loved it. She is also getting an armchair with her name on it from her grandparents - it is purple with white polka dots. I can't wait to see it.

Here are her gifts from Mom and Dad. I knitted the koala. (Yes, that is supposed to be a koala bear.)

The cake:

No, I didn't make this. It was delicious, though: chocolate and vanilla with a chocolate mousse filling. Clare's "smash cake" was just vanilla.

Singing to the birthday girl. She wanted to grab the flame desperately.

What. Is. This?

Oh. It is good. Soooo goooood.

Do you want some, Mom?
Clare loved the cake. I had to take it away from her so she wouldn't eat the whole thing and get a stomachache. After cake, she spent the next several hours crawling around to each guest, shrieking with joy. At one point I came into the room, and she practically spun around in her glee at seeing me. Then she crawled towards me, shrieking. That made me feel pretty good.

I had planned to get pictures of Clare with all of her party guests, who included all four grandparents, aunts, uncles, great aunts, an honorary aunt, and some of Mommy's good friends (who live here in town), but that didn't happen. I did, however, get shots of her with two VIPs:

Great-Grandpa Bob and the birthday girl.

Clare with her namesake, Great-Grandma Clara.
I don't know why, but the first birthday just seems like such a big deal! I don't know if we'll do a big party again next year, but I am glad we did this year. It was a special day for all of us!

The after party:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

12 Months (!!!)

Clare is 1! I can hardly believe it. I don’t think she believed me when I showed her a photo of herself as a newborn and told her it was her. It is amazing how different she looks now.

I remember last year's June 7th so clearly. Going into labor, pushing for 3 and a half hours, finally holding Clare in my arms. Then just staring at her for hours, pretty much scared out of my mind. I was so worried that I would hurt her somehow. She seemed so fragile. Those days are certainly gone. Now Clare crawls, cruises, dances, stands for seconds at a time on her own, climbs, and falls on a regular basis. She’s taken one or two steps on her own, and will walk with her push toy or with Mom and Dad’s assistance, so I know she’ll be walking on her own any day.

I am anxiously waiting for her to start talking. She has a few words: this, hat, all done - although I am probably the only one who knows she is saying all done. She shakes her head no. She says ya for yes, like a good Danish girl. I know she understands much of what we say and is taking it all in. She is also busy figuring out how everything works. She loves putting lids on and taking them off and trying to fasten buckles or snaps. She figured out how to get the top off her sippy cup at daycare, and spilled water all over herself. Maybe she will be an engineer like her Daddy.

We’ve started the weaning process. It is going...okay. The first day she was willing to drink a bottle of cow's milk from me, but then last night she had a fit and threw it across the room when I tried to give it to her.  So we'll see how it goes.  Finding something she is willing to eat has been challenging lately, especially because she does not want her food cut into pieces. We went out to eat last week, and when I bent down to pick her folk up off the floor she reached over and grabbed her entire pancake off my plate. She was pretty pleased with herself after that.

We are going to spend a lot of time at the park this summer – Clare loves being outside, although she is still not sure she likes the grass. She’ll crawl on the driveway, though, despite scraping her knees.

Clare is shy at first when she meets strangers, but seems to have basically gotten over any separation anxiety. She loves having family and friends around. If she has an audience, she is happy. I hope she has a great time at her birthday party on Saturday and isn't too overwhelmed by the crowd.

A year and a day ago, I didn’t really understand how people felt when they talked about how strong your love is for a child. Now I know. I am overwhelmed by my feelings some days.

Clare, I love you more than anything in the world. I would do anything for you. I am glad you are such a happy little girl, and I hope your second year is as good as your first one. Happy birthday, sweetheart!