Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sarah in town

Our friend Sarah was in town from her new home in Toronto. We're glad that although she's living in a different country, she's much closer to us now than when she lived in Seattle! We had a fun mini-TJ High School reunion evening of game-playing. The next day we spent a rather warm but lovely day walking around Old Town Alexandria.

Vanessa has been having more and more stranger anxiety lately, but she was quite content to sit on Sarah's lap for a good story!

Vanessa and I have been keeping busy playing with all the wonderful girls and mommies in our play group. Here's Tess, Grace, Vanessa, and Revie trying out the sand and water table. There was much splashing and getting sandy, but much less eating of sand than I expected.

Vanessa has learned that clothes are for putting on, and that usually means putting on over her head! For example, she spent almost an entire evening trying to put on the Toronto shirt that Sarah gave her. Here she's trying on her daddy's tie.

An exciting development related to this is that Vanessa now understands that she wears diapers, and she is able to communicate to me when she needs a diaper change by trying to pick up a diaper from the bag where I store them. She understands the need to get diapers off, but unfortunately not that she needs one back on, and she always wriggles free and runs away before I get her new one on. I forsee that something in my house will one day be peed upon. Ah well, I needed motivation to keep the library books off the floor anyway.

Vanessa has picked up a few new signs, although some such as alligator and yogurt she seems to have forgotten. She now signs cat and car and she can point to her teeth.

She also has been working on her catching, throwing, and kicking skills. James has been playing with her and I was surprised at how well she can catch and throw and kick her soccer ball!

About 2 days ago, Vanessa suddenly developed the ability to put things in a specific place, instead of just picking them up! I first noticed that she could put her records on her toy record player. Now she's practicing putting her toys in boxes. At long last, she'll be able to help me clean up! Hmmm... perhaps I have a year or more to wait (you're right, potentially a lot more!). In the meantime, I'm sure I'll be fishing toys out of interesting places.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

1st Birthday!

Vanessa turned one year old on Friday! I've decided that first birthdays are as much for the parents as for the baby. I mean, we've been parents for a whole year, and we haven't completely lost our sanity yet (well, maybe that's debatable). In any case, this has been an amazing year for James and me. We both are so proud and happy to be Vanessa's parents.

We had a birthday party for Vanessa and for her great-grandma Lou who shares her birthday. Great-grandma Lou lives in Florida, and had planned her trip up to see us since Vanessa was born. We were very excited to celebrate both birthdays!

Before the party, Vanessa was hard at work to make our house clean for our guests.

Since she's 12-months old, I decided to take a picture with her Miss Dee doll, as I have done every three months. First I had to wait until she had finished hugging her!

I had envisioned a nice shot of Vanessa sitting and holding Miss Dee around the waist. Vanessa instead wanted to hold her about the ankles. Oh well. I think it's clear from this picture how much Vanessa loves her doll!

Vanessa was remarkably cheery during her entire birthday party, despite her fourth tooth coming in. I credit her happy demeanor largely to the fact that her best friend Revie was there too. It was great for Vanessa to have someone to play with and snack with!

Nana's coworker Annie bought balloons for Vanessa. I think this picture describes better than I can how much Vanessa loved her balloons!

I was pleased that my Uncle Bob, Aunt Teri, and cousin Brett were able to make the party. Vanessa was very excited about the alphabet magnets and clothes she got from them. She even helped unwrap her gifts!

Vanessa really likes her new foam blocks from her great-grandma and great-grandpa. She can't build with them yet, but she really enjoys banging them together and strewing them about the house. In fact, right now that's her very favorite activity!

Vanessa's second cousin Alex just started school at Tennessee. Vanessa will get to show her Tennessee pride when wearing this outfit from her great-grammy Dee. Vanessa also got an antique children's chair from her great-grammy Dee. It has been passed down for generations now. Vanessa loves to climb up in it, and she likes to sit in it like the big girl she is!

Heather and Terry gave Vanessa some R2D2 themed gifts. Vanessa really did like that R2D2 mailbox in Kentucky. Somehow, I imagine she'll like Star Wars one day!

Vanessa admires an outfit from Nana II (Geri) and Joe. Yup, I think it's a pretty safe bet that Vanessa will be more stylish than her mommy!

Especially with a Coach purse from her Nana! I mean, I have a worn out purse from Target for goodness sake. Well, I guess Coach just really isn't my "bag," if you know what I mean.

My Aunt Teri gets a cuddle from Vanessa!

Vanessa couldn't blow out the candle on her own, so we had to call on my cousin Brett to help out. Brett didn't get it on the first try either (probably he was just trying to make Vanessa feel better about it).

Great-grandma Lou and Vanessa share some of the very delicious carrot cake that my friend Jessica made for this special occasion. Happy birthday, ladies!

Vanessa was so happy to have her great-grandparents around!

Vanessa likes her sand and water table from her Nana and Grampa. She especially likes the water side.

After a long day, Vanessa just needs to rest on her Daddy's shoulder for a while.

The next day, my mother came to celebrate Vanessa's birthday. She made Vanessa a bean bag. Vanessa absolutely loves crawling in and out of it, and especially likes it when I tug the bean bag around the living room floor with her sitting in it!

We tried out the sand and water table outdoors. Vanessa loved putting her hands in up to her elbows and splashing about. Heather and Terry helped Vanessa explore her new toy.

We also took Vanessa down to play in the kiddie pool in our neighborhood. I wasn't too surprised that Vanessa absolutely loved the water! Oh joy! A bath that she's allowed to stand up in!

Well, I have to say that it's been an action-packed summer for us. I'll be working on Saturdays and taking a class, and James will be taking classes too, so I think that our blogging will most likely slow down a little bit!