Saturday, December 31, 2016

a look back on 2016

This was definitely the year of Mae. Here's a look at some of our favorite moments from 2016!

Top Row (left to right): Our trip to Italy to visit Kelsey; a big family Easter gathering for my baby shower; welcoming our beautiful little girl; and Mae's first visits with our families

Middle Row: Meeting our nephew Oliver for the first time; a milestone birthday for me; Mae's first baseball game; and meeting her great grandparents (on my side)

Bottom Row: Introducing our baby to football tailgating; welcoming our godson Ollie to the church; Mae's Baptism; and Mae's first Christmas (including meeting her great grandparents on Dan's side, too!)

Looking forward to what 2017 brings. Happy New Year!

Here are the links if you want to reminisce about 2015 and 2014 with me.

Friday, December 30, 2016

now she wants a puppy

Two days after Christmas we flew to Pennsylvania to visit Dan's family. Our flight was super early, and Mae nodded off as soon as we settled into our seats. Once we got to the house, Mae opened lots of fun Christmas gifts from GranE and Batman. She enjoyed playing with her new toys and with Batman's collection of singing snowmen, but her absolute favorite activity was following Colleen's dog around the house. She clenched her fists and screeched with uncontrollable excitement every time Pepper walked by. (Pepper was completely unfazed and indifferent to Mae's existence.)

On Thursday, we drove to Maryland so Mae could meet her great grandparents! She loved showing off her crawling skills, which continue to improve every day. We had a wonderful visit!

Now Mae has been to 9 states (Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia) in less than 8 months. If she continues at this rate (she won't), she'll visit all 50 states before she turns 4!

Monday, December 26, 2016

mae-rry christmas!

Mae was a little worried that Santa wouldn't know to deliver her presents to Grandma's house. When she met him at day care last month, she made sure to give him detailed directions.

She also asked him for a mountain of presents. I think he went a little overboard.

Just kidding, that was for my whole family. Here's her little pile! She has already tried out her new mini-piano and stacking rings.

She and Oliver had so much fun celebrating their first Christmas!

Before Christmas, we continued one of my favorite traditions of going to dinner and the Christmas show at the symphony. Mae stayed at home with my Aunt Ruthann, so Dan and I could enjoy an evening of grown-up fun!

We switched up our Christmas Eve routine a bit this year. Instead of going to Mass at midnight, we went at 4pm and my parents hosted their Christmas Eve party for friends and neighbors afterwards. Then Mae got her very own copy of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," which we read before she went to sleep. I wonder what Mae's favorite traditions will be as she grows up. I feel a huge responsibility to choose the activities that she will feel nostalgic for in 30 years!

Finally, here's some cute Christmas-themed art that Mae created at day care. I particularly love the hand print bird (of course)!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

seven months of mae

All she wants for Christmas is her two front teeth... to stop hurting!

Mae has been a bit miserable with teething the last few days, so we could barely coax a smile for photos today. Every time I tried to take the sticker out of her mouth, she burst into tears!

She spiked a fever Tuesday, and her top two front teeth emerged Thursday so hopefully she'll be feeling better soon. Her sleep patterns have been all out-of-whack with teething, a rough cold, and being moved from the pack in play in our room to her own crib this month. Hopefully we will get to sleep more than a couple hours at a time again soon.

Last week she started at a new day care. We were so sad to leave the wonderful teachers at her previous location; they taught her so much about bottles and pacifiers and napping and everything! However, the new place is much more convenient for us, and Mae was ready to graduate rooms anyways since she has become mobile! She hasn't quite figured out how to incorporate her legs into her crawling motion, though she is starting to scrunch up her knees and push off with her feet a bit more. She is much better at sitting now and doesn't need her arms for support.

Her diet now includes rice cereal, sweet potatoes, peaches, pears, and squash. She has also tried peanut butter and eggs (trying to introduce potential allergens early). Last week I put a few tiny chunks of avocado on her high chair tray (she has learned to tolerate the tray since last month). She picked them up in her palm but couldn't figure out how to get them out of her closed fist when she brought her hand to her mouth. I put a few bits in her mouth, and she promptly spit them out with a disgusted look of "Mom, how could you betray me like this?" She had a similar reaction to carrots today and wouldn't calm down until Dan bribed her with peaches (her favorite food by far). Frankly, I agree with her on cooked carrots. So gross.

We celebrated 7 months with a trip to the aquarium for Dan's work group's Christmas party. Even though she had been fussy all day, Mae loved the action and attention of a big party!

Happy 7 months, baby girl! (I am starting to understand why people say "they grow up too fast.")

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

can't leave those two alone

I think Dan is having way too much fun with this baby thing.

When Mae was couple months old, Dan created an instructional video called "How To Fish For Babies," which involved danging a baby toy over Mae while she tried to catch it in her wide open mouth like a little baby bird begging for worms. Here's a screenshot:

His most recent installment in the How-To series came as a series of text messages while I was out Christmas shopping this week. Here's what I received.

How to trap a wild baby:

Step 1: bait

Step 2: spring the trap!

Step 3: success!

He's certainly taking his role as silly dad very seriously.
(Don't worry, Mae thinks being trapped under the laundry basket is hilarious.)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

knit baptism gown

I just have to share a few more photos of Mae's Baptism gown. I started knitting this dress while I was pregnant and finished about two weeks before Mae was born. It took just over a month from start to finish. The pattern is by Bernat Design Studio. It's exactly what I was looking for: lace pattern with a scalloped hem. I knit the gown in Rowan Wool Cotton 4-ply, which is very soft -- perfect for baby clothes worn against the skin.

I am so proud of this dress. It was my first time knitting set-in sleeves, and I love how the scallops turned out. Plus, Mae looked so cute!!

Details on my Ravelry page.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Whew! We had a crazy, event-filled Thanksgiving weekend! We hosted Thanksgiving at our home this year for the first time. Thankfully, I have wonderful in-laws who were willing to travel for the weekend, so we were able to celebrate both the Thanksgiving holiday and Mae's Baptism surrounded by family!

For our first attempt at cooking a turkey, we actually made two: a traditional one in the oven and one in the smoker (which we brined the night before). That gave us plenty of leftovers and a back-up bird in case of disaster. Fortunately, both were delicious! We also had gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, green beans, cranberry sauce, and dinner rolls followed by pumpkin pie and apple pie. Mae stuffed herself on rice cereal and sweet potato purée.

This was an excellent excuse to bring out all my fancy table linens, china, and crystal! Tim took this photo, which he captioned, "The Queen is in her throne ready for the feast".

Saturday morning, we bought a new car to replace our totaled sedan. Dan's dad came along to provide some much-needed advice and moral support. We test drove a couple vehicles and settled on a Mazda CX-5. I'm enjoying all the bells and whistles like navigation, bluetooth, and heated seats. Mae is enjoying the chewy keychain.

Everyone stuck around for Mae's Baptism on Sunday, and my family, including my Aunt Ruthann and Uncle Tim, came in for the day also. Another boy was baptized during the same ceremony, and, shockingly, Mae was the better behaved kid! She only looked a bit confused when the water was poured over her head.

We took lots of family photos afterwards! Mae enjoyed chewing on her baptism garment.

Here we are with Mae's godparents, her Aunt Colleen and Uncle Christopher.

We hosted a little reception at our house afterwards. Mae and Ollie were happy to get some play time together, and we enjoyed visiting with both our families!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

knit baby leggings

Did you notice those cute knit pants in Mae's six month post? These are the Rocky Joggers knit in Regia Design Line by Arne and Carlos in colorway Star Night. The yarn is dyed in a way that forms these stripes and patterns all by itself... no fancy colorwork needed! I saw another project on Ravelry using a similar self-striping yarn and knew I needed to make a pair for Mae.

I made an elastic waistband instead of a drawstring since I know Mae would be constantly untying the strings. Hopefully she agrees that the cuteness outweighs the itchiness of wool pants!

Project details on my Ravelry page.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

our little godson!

Last weekend we welcomed little Oliver to the Catholic Church! Dan and I were very honored that Christopher and Emily chose us to be Oliver's godparents. (Dan only made a couple of Godfather-related jokes the whole weekend. I was surprised there weren't more.)

Oliver was well-behaved during the ceremony, except he looked like he wanted to dive into the baptismal font the whole time! He didn't fuss when the Deacon poured the water over his head, but he looked very surprised.

Christopher and Emily had a little reception at their house after the ceremony. Actually, there was nothing "little" about it since there were about 40 people! We enjoyed lots of delicious food and had fun visiting with our family and Emily's family.

We'll be praying for you, Oliver!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

six months of mae

Well, it happened. Mae got fun.

She's cute and playful and giggly and wild! She is super curious and explores by army crawling everywhere (she hasn't figured out how to incorporate the legs yet). She is getting pretty good at "tripod" sitting, where she supports herself with her arms. Her hair is starting to come in thicker now, but the jury is still out on whether it'll be brown or red. And the eyes? We are pretty sure they're going to stay blue. I'm already preparing my speech for the day she comes home from science class crying that she's adopted because the Punnet Square says brown-eyed parents can't have a blue-eyed baby. (They can).

We are in the process of weaning her from nursing to sleep. Sometimes she falls asleep right away, and sometimes she screams until Dan goes to settle her down. She usually sleeps from 7:30 pm to 7:00 am with a couple feeds overnight. She is still sleeping in our room, but will soon be ready to move into her nursery! She's not a good napper at home, but received high marks in "sleeping" on her baby report card from the day care.

Her favorite toys right now are her wind-up radio, anything that rattles, and her brand new jumperoo. This girl has SO much energy!

Mae loves sitting in her high chair while we cook or eat dinner, as long as we don't attach the tray. Tray = screaming. She had her first taste of sweet potatoes on Monday and seemed pretty unsure about the whole experience (this photo makes it look like she was a lot more excited than she actually was). She's usually not very talkative, but for some reason loves to babble as soon as I get the food on her tongue. This sends little flecks of orange goo all over both of us! I was even using the spoon to wipe her face after each bite, and she still ended up looking like this.

She is still struggling to gain weight, only adding 6.5 ounces since her 4 month checkup. She has now fallen to the 5th percentile for weight (she started just above 50th). We will be adding hypoallergenic powdered formula to her breast milk bottles to sneak in some extra calories as well as introducing rice cereal, fruits, veggies, peanut butter, and eggs over the next few weeks. I think she's just burning too many calories since she never stops moving!

Lastly, here's some neat art that Mae created at day care. Enjoy!

Friday, November 11, 2016

happy valley

Well, this has been a crazy week!

Last weekend, we drove to Penn State for Mae's first football tailgate. We left Friday morning and arrived in State College around dinner time after only 2 stops along our drive.

Saturday we went to campus and tailgated with a bunch of Dan's friends from college. We could not have had more perfect football weather... sunny and just a bit chilly! Colleen and her friend Kaela were also at the game tailgating with their friends. Aunt Colleen was super happy to get some quality time with Mae, and Mae loved the attention!

Mae also had fun hanging out with CJ and Catherine's 11-month-old daughter Abby.

She partied a little too hard and passed out in the afternoon. Good thing CJ and Catherine thought to bring a portable crib.

It was a great day, and Dan got to see Penn State beat Iowa! (Mae and I went back to the house after tailgating, and she was asleep before the game even started.)

The rest of this week has been pretty crazy. My social media accounts have been exploding with reactions, both good and bad, to Tuesday's election of Donald Trump as the next president of the United States. Every 4 years, half the country is elated and half the country is devastated by the election results. This year feels even more polarized than in the past.

Then, on Thursday, Dan got in a pretty bad car accident. He's okay but very, very sore. He had just dropped off Mae at day care (thank goodness) and was stopped at a light when a drunk driver plowed into the back of his car and caused a 6 vehicle accident. I got his call on my way into work, but had no idea how bad the accident was until I arrived at the scene. One woman had to be cut from her car, and a helicopter was just landing to transport her to the hospital. There were emergency vehicles everywhere, and the road was closed. After we left the scene, I took Dan to the emergency room to get x-rays (nothing was broken) and some prescriptions for the muscle soreness. We left the ER, picked up Mae from day care, and went home to rest and thank God that our little family was all okay.

Any suggestions for what type of vehicle we should get? I have a feeling this little sedan is totaled.