Sunday, March 27, 2011

Renee's Birthday Celebrations

I meant to write this post about a month ago, but never got around to it.  Better late than never, right!

Before I even had Renee, when I was still pregnant, I worried about what we were going to do for her 1st birthday party!  We didn't want a huge party, and definitely not at our house.  In general 1 year olds don't do well in large crowds of people they barely know, especially when their parents are busy entertaining all those people.

So, what to do?  What to do?

We considered not having a party at all.  But, that's no fun either.  My mom offered to have the party at her house, which would give Jeff and I the freedom to keep Renee happy.  But, there was still going to be too many people.  So I came up with a great idea - split the party into two parties!  One would be at a restaurant with just Renee's most immediate family (parents, grandparents, uncles) and our closest friends.  The second party would be at my mom's house with more (but, still not all) family and friends.  Jeff wasn't quite sure how we went from the idea of no party at all (which he liked) to having two parties, but he's not one to argue with my sound logic, that and he learned early on in our relationship that I am just always right.

We had the first party at Fenton's Creamery in Oakland on the Sunday before her birthday.  Renee was so good and had such a great time.  She just sat in her high chair and ate french fries and some of my hamburger and smiled at all the attention she was getting.  She even wore her birthday hat for a long time, which was surprising because normally she hates wearing hats.  It was really cute!

Here are some pics from that party:

She really liked playing with the balloons!

Since we were planning on having a special cake for her second party, and since we were already at an ice cream parlor, it seemed only fitting to give Renee a birthday ice cream scoop.  It was her first ice cream ever and she  loved it!!

Her 1st ice cream experience, she wasn't too sure about the candle though :D

Renee got lots of great gifts: bath toys, books, a sand & water play table and money for her college savings.  Jeff and I gave her a picture book of her family and friends that I made on, a pink sweater that I knit for her and a new baby doll.  She absolutely loved the baby doll and still plays with it everyday!!  

Hugging her new baby doll!

It ended up being a perfect party!  No stress, no clean up, & tons of fun!!!  I also must thank our super great friend Jodi for taking such beautiful pictures at the party :D

On Tuesday, her actual birthday, Jeff and I took the day off.  We were considering still taking her to daycare so that we could have the day to ourselves.  Kind of a gift to us for making it through the first year of parenthood.  But, it just didn't feel right not spending Renee's birthday with her.  So, we decided to go to the Sacramento Zoo instead. 

We ended up having a great time!  The weather was perfect and since it was the middle of the week, there weren't many people there so Renee got to walk around on her own, which was all she wants to do these days :D

The uneven path was hard for her to stay balanced on, but she did her best!

Renee as compared to some birds of prey.

Ooooooh!  Big kitty cat!!

 She was only marginally interested in looking at the animals.  The ones that resembled dogs in any way (tigers, coyotes, etc.) and the ones that moved around a lot (birds and monkeys) got her attention.  She did enjoy watching the orangutans for a while, as did Jeff and I.

  We also took her on her first carousel ride at the zoo.  At first she loved it, I think because it reminded her of the rocking horse she has at my parents' house.   Then, when the ride started she was torn between being nervous and just having a great time!  The ride was a little too long for her toddler patience though, and after about five times around she was ready to get off. 

Happy on her polar bear, for the moment :D

Renee's second party was at my parents' house on the Saturday after her birthday.  My cousin Olivia has been making really adorable cupcakes and cakes for a few years now, so I asked her to make Renee a special 1st birthday cake.  I let her take total creative license and so we all got to be surprised at what she decided to make.

And I must say, she outdid herself:

Is this not the CUTEST 1st birthday cake ever!!!  Thank you again O!

We all had a great time at this party too!  Renee loved getting attention from all her aunts, uncles and cousins, as always :D  She also had a ton of fun playing on her hand-me-down rocking horse that we keep at Grandma & Grandpa's house.  This was the first time that she was really able to rock on it all on her own, it was really cute!

That's the sweater I made her :D

 Again, she got lots of great presents: clothes, building blocks, books, more toys and money for her college savings.

 After gifts, we all sang her "Happy Birthday" and gave her a huge piece of cake (the caterpillar's head) to dig into all on her own!!  She wasn't quite sure about the whole thing and didn't like how the frosting stuck to her hands and ended up making a big purple frosting mess.  It was cute.  Unfortunately my camera ran out of batteries right before the cake, and I haven't uploaded the pictures from my parents' camera yet, so I don't have a picture of her messy cuteness to show you.

Renee ended up have 3 birthday celebrations; two parties and a special day at the zoo with Mommy and Daddy.  Wowzers, what a lucky girl!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A homemade gift

I don't think I ever posted anything about this, but back around Thanksgiving Renee's primary infant teacher, Erika, changed positions and ended up going to a different daycare center.  And Rajvir, an udergraduate student at UC Davis who was working part time at the daycare, took Erika's spot as soon as she graduated at the end of Fall quarter and became Renee's new primary teacher.

Renee moved into the toddler room about a month ago, something I intend to write a post on soon, and so now she has another new primary teacher.  Anyway, when she left the infant room I had planned on doing something special to thank all four of the teachers for taking such good care of my baby girl, but I never got around to it.  

So last week on Monday, when we got an email that said Rajvir was going on to nursing school, and her last day at the daycare center was going to be Friday, I knew I had to do something for her and fast!!

I've always loved crafting and just can't wait until Renee is old enough to really appreciate it too!!  And because I'm sometimes really impatient, I decided our gift to Rajvir should be something crafted by Renee, with maybe a little bit of guidance from me.  I know she's only one, but if they can get elephants to paint works of art, I should be able to get my 1 year old to make a small going away gift, right?  Not that I'm comparing my daughter to an elephant, she's a lot more like a monkey than anything :D

After a quick Google image search for toddler crafts I found this cute little frame that I was sure Renee and I could do together.
Clay Photo Frame by

I needed something that I could set up for her and that would then only require 5 minutes or less of her time.  She is a very busy toddler these days and can't be bothered to do many things for very long unless they are super fun and/or totally new to her.  And this seemed to fit the bill perfectly!

Off to Michael's we went and picked up some supplies:

I rolled out the clay and then just cut a rectangular frame shape with a kitchen knife.  I didn't measure it or bother making sure the edges were straight.  I figured it wouldn't look like a toddler had a hand in making it if is was too perfect :D

Then I set Renee up in her high chair with the clay frame on some parchment paper and showed her how the whole project was meant to work by sticking one gem in the clay myself.  She's pretty good at copying whatever I do these days, so I figured it would work great.   

I thought it would be more authentic Renee art if she got to pick out the gems herself.  But the first thing she did was stick a gem in her mouth.  After digging the gem out of her mouth with my finger (being careful to avoid getting bit), I remembered she was only 1 and proceeded more cautiously!

What worked best was when I just gave her 1 gem at a time.  I would then point to the frame and repeat cheerfully, over and over again, "put it right there!"  She would sometimes oblige and try to stick the gem into the clay like I showed her.  But about half the time she would smile at me and stick the gem in her mouth again.  Of course I couldn't get mad, I was the one asking her to do something that was way above her maturity level!!! 

And after a few minutes of the back and forth gem in mouth, gem on frame business, I gave up, filled in the blank spots myself and called it done.  She did seem to enjoy the process a little bit at least, but it probably would have been a lot more fun for the both of us if it was something more age appropriate.  

The Model Magic directions said that it would take up to 72 hours to dry completely, so I just left it on the counter for a couple of days.  On Thursday, after our trip to the pediatrician, we had to go to Walgreens to get Renee's albuterol prescription, and while we were waiting we went over to the instant print photo machine and printed out one of the pictures I had taken of her that morning.  I love that photo machine, you just stick in your camera's memory card and it prints out the photos while you're standing there, and they're only 33 cents each.  Perfect for those last minute magnet photo frame gifts!!  

Back home I cut the picture to size, glued it on the back, stuck on two of magnets and voilĂ !!!

A beautiful magnet picture frame "made" by Renee, with just a little help from Mommy.  

I've never used Crayola Model Magic before, but it was pretty cool.  It stayed nice and bright after it dried, and it was super light, perfect for a magnet!  We only ended up using half of it, and there are a ton of gems left.  I think I'll wait a while before we try to craft anything with those again though!

On Friday morning, we went into the infant room and gave Rajvir her gift along with a thank you card.  She also got a big hug from Renee, so cute!!  

Good luck Rajvir, we'll miss you and we know you'll do great in nursing school!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Her 1st 2nd

Yesterday was Renee's 2nd St. Patrick's Day!!!  It's not really a big deal, except that it was the 1st time she has celebrated anything for the 2nd time - if that makes any sense :D

Normally, to celebrate my mom makes corned beef and cabbage for dinner; mmmmm, salty goodness!  But we were all just a bit too busy this year.  Instead I just dressed Renee up in a cute green outfit, made sure Jeff and I each wore a green shirt (didn't want to get pinched), and continued on with our normal routine. 

March 17, 2011 - 1 year, 3 weeks & 3 days old

I found that super cute little dress at Target.  Paired up with some green leggings from another outfit and we had ourselves a little St. Patty's Princess!  I do feel a bit silly for spending money on something she only got to wear once, but it was just way too cute to pass up!

She got compliments from so many people everywhere we went.  They even gave her a green balloon at the grocery store, which she loved.  And you know they only do that for the really cute and super festive babies!  Okay, I know, not really :D

Here is a picture of Renee from her 1st St. Patrick's Day.  Look how tiny she was!!  This was before she got all chubby and round.  She was still super cute though : D

March 17, 2010 - 3 weeks & 3 days old

Even though we didn't really celebrate the holiday this year, the day wasn't completely routine.  We ended up going to see the pediatrician because Renee had been wheezing for a couple of days and I was starting to get worried.  Luckily, it was just a symptom of a common cold and will clear up shortly with the help of an albuterol inhaler :(

We ended up having to wait about an hour before we saw the doctor, but Renee had tons of fun entertaining all the other people in the waiting room.  She is so busy these days, always on the move and always inventing new ways to have fun.  I love seeing her so happy!!

Here are some pics of her having fun in the doctor's office:

Okay, now that I've pushed this stool across the room, what should I do next?

Hey, why won't this thing open up?  There's gotta be something cool in here!!

Peek-a-boo Mommy!!!!
My mommy can't see me under here!!  He he he!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

For The Future

Occasionally, as I look at my adorable baby girl, I have a sudden and startling realization that eventually Jeff and I are going to have a teenage girl!!  A snotty, back-talking, lying, dramatic, know-it-all who hates us (sorry future Renee, if you're reading this, it's true), who will make us more angry than we could ever imagine, and who we will still love more than anything anyway.

And although this is quite a ways down the road (12 years to be exact), it will be here eventually.  I usually don't linger in that thought process for very long, really only a few seconds is enough!  I'm just saying, it does pop in my head every once in a while.

So today when I was reading one of my favorite blogs, The Yarn Harlot, a knitter with 3 daughters, who's topic happened to be on things teenage girls like, I thought I'd better take note of this for the future!

Here is what she said:

1. Expensive things. The more money it costs, the better they like it.  I use this to my advantage by making sure I complain bitterly about the expense.  Makes them feel special when I fold and buy whatever it is, even though I was always going to buy whatever it was. and even though it isn't very expensive. 

2. They like stuff that has to do with their physical selves.  Manicures. Waxing things.  Stuff you paint on yourself.  Cream that allegedly does things to your skin.  (Hint: The more "action" a product has, the more they like it. Aim for products that have verbs in their marketing. Lengthening, lifting, correcting, shining, enhancing, bronzing, boosting... anything like that.) 

3. They will love it if you hate it.  This goes for everything, especially boys and skirt lengths.

4. If you love it, they will hate it. See above. 

5. They will love it if you look really stupid in it, near it, by it, around it or can't do it.  (This, I believe, is the primary draw of skateboards.) 

That's all I've got.  Good luck, and stay strong. 

All I have to do is remember to come back and read this post in 12 years!!  And for now, I am going to enjoy every single moment with my sweet little baby girl Renee and try not to think about future problems we may or may not have :D