IMG_4593Today is my birthday, and today Catherine is 8 months old.  We were both born on the 23rd (pretty cool!).  We are also both water signs.  I’m a pisces, and she’s a cancer.  According to the signs, we’re mother and daughter soulmates.

Today I’m also picking up a caramel birthday cake from Piece of Cake.  Normally my mom makes my birthday cake.  I don’t think there’s ever been a year where she didn’t.  But this year she bought a special caramel cake from a bakery with tons of thick caramel frosting as a surprise.  Next year she can resume making my birthday cakes herself. 😉

IMG_4638 IMG_4646 IMG_4647 IMG_4648A little about Catherine at 8 months…

Throughout the day, I think about her and spending time with her and I get this happy, excited feeling.  Not that she doesn’t keep me on my toes.  I’m not trying to make this sound all sappy perfect life-ish.  But the truth is, life is just so good and I recognize that.

I always try to capture every detail of what makes Catherine so special, and it’s overwhelming.  So I’ll just describe a moment we enjoyed last night, that we enjoy often.  It of course involves breastfeeding, which has been a bonding experience for us.  Chris was out of town, and Catherine woke up due to a stuffy nose at 3:00am.  It was cold outside and I pulled her into bed with me and snuggled her close to breastfeed.  She always puts her warm little hands on my breasts while she nurses.  She props her legs up on my side.  I don’t know why she does this but she always has.  She pauses every so often to look up at me and smile, then goes back to nursing.  When she’s finished she reaches her arm up and grabs my nose, examining me.  She’s getting bigger and bigger and eventually she won’t be a baby anymore.  And then, we will be on to even better and more fun and amazing things.  But right now, I treasure these moments while she’s still a baby and just hold her close and squeeze her chubby little thighs and stare at her.  Sometimes I run my hands over her skin giving her goosebumps and putting her in a trance, it’s adorable.  She stops everything and stretches out and stares up at the ceiling and is very still.  I think she’ll want me to scratch her back when she goes to sleep, like I want Chris to do to me.

Another moment I wish I could bottle up and keep forever – bath time.  I discovered something Catherine loves.  I lay her facedown on my legs and put a warm washcloth on her back.  Then I take these little stackable toy cups with tons of tiny holes in the bottom so the water comes out like it would out of a shower head.  And I drizzle cup after cup over her back, giving her a warm-water back massage.  Her eyes practically roll back in her head, she loves it so much.  I do not know why but I really love doing this to her!  I think it’s because so much of what we do to try and make our kids happy goes unappreciated.  You know, one day she may love the sweet potatoes I roasted, peeled, pureed, and served to her with a touch of cinnamon.  But the next moment, she may throw them on the floor and scream, as if I served her something awful.  So this is something I can do for her that I can see makes her feel good and I just love that.

Oh – something else to document on her 8-month birthday.  She has tantrums now.  Like, arches her back and screams and throws things.  At first I was caught off guard.  I would leave the store instantly or give her what she wanted just to stop the screaming while I puzzled over what the heck just happened and wait, how am I supposed to handle this again? Do I need to buy a book for this?  Then I realized that I can just ignore her tantrum and it passes very quickly and she’s all smiles.  The tantrums were alarming until I realized she was being very dramatic but not actually hurt or upset.  I had to remember that I’m in charge.

IMG_4669She isn’t crawling yet, but she is oh-so close.  She still says mama, dada, and she GROWLS.  A LOT.  Especially at Meeks.  It’s so funny!  It all started with “what’s the bear say?” and just took off for some reason.

Speaking of of Dada…he’s been working late, and traveling a lot.  I’ll be honest – it sucks.  But it isn’t forever.  It could be worse – thinking of military families.  And most importantly, I fully understand what it feels like to be very absorbed in something I’m working towards (though I don’t know if Chris or I have actually defined that concrete thing that Chris is working towards).  Anyway, I expect to be this way again at some point – I can only hope that I get there again, because what’s life without big goals and totally immersing yourself in something you are so passionate about and driven towards?  It’s very rewarding, but it requires sacrifice.  When this day comes again for me, I will have to ask the same of Chris that he’s asking of me right now.   To be understanding and supportive.  You can’t achieve big goals without the support of the people around you.  Right now, there’s just nothing more important to me than being mommy.  And as for today – we have Chris all to ourselves. 🙂

Happy Birthday to me and Happy 8 Months to Catherine!