The 1st Birthday

January 5th, 2014

The first birthday is a huge milestone. Not only for the soon-to-be toddler, but all the parents. At the one year mark, you look back at all that has been accomplished over the past twelve months: surviving on three hours of sleep, mastering diaper changes, and learning the intro songs to early morning PBS shows.

To celebrate Max’s big day, we went with a monster theme. Being born so close to Halloween, it was only fitting. Besides, he’s our little monster who goes bump in the night. From invites, to favors, to decorations, it was all MONSTER.

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Front of Max’s Invitation.

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The Back with Deets.

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Do I Take Themes Too Literally? Yes. The Answer is Yes.

Close Up of the Cake

Close Up of the Cake.

 

I Weep for the Hours These Stole from Me.

I Weep for the Hours These Stole from Me.

Until He Tasted Cake, This Was His Favorite Part of the Fiesta

Until He Tasted Cake, This Was His Favorite Part of the Fiesta.

Not too sure about the smash cake...

Not Too Sure About the Smash Cake…

Definitely Sure About the Smash Cake!

Definitely Sure About the Smash Cake!

Some of the items you won’t see here were toothpicks with googley eyes, monster favor bags with all monster themed items, and a few other miscellaneous decorations (on my Pinterest board here). If you’re wondering, the invites are from Pear Tree Greetings (love their stuff!), the decorations came from Oriental Trading (tons of options) and the treats were hand made (instructions for the cake are here and cookies here).

The best part about the party? All the family and friends who joined us from across the city, state and country to be a part of the special day. So many new memories were added to our growing collection of epic Max moments.

Did we stress? Yes. Did we overdo it on a few things? Of course. Would we do it again? Chyeah.

 

 

Months 4 through 12 Anybody?

November 4th, 2013

So, a funny thing happened on the way to update the blog. Or rather, DIDN’T happen. Between us both working full-time jobs, taking care of a baby, and finding time (what’s that?) to retain a sense of normalcy, we’ve neglected cyberspace. Rather than bore you posts that I backdated in order to look like I had them waiting in my drafts folder the whole time…we’ll pretend I’m doing you a favor by rolling all these fabulous, event-filled months, into one blog.

So here goes:

Month 4 – We have a roller! Max is regularly rolling from front to back, and occasionally from back to front. Those pesky, but adorably chubby baby arms seem to get in the way every time. He loves, loves, loves Sophie, his activity mat, magic blanket and wubba-nub (all covered in a previous post).

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Learning to love the camera as much as it loves him.

Month 5 – Those pesky chubby arms that got in the way of rolling? Pfft. Old news. Max can now roll every which way! He’s full of smiles and quite the charmer. Ladies in his presence swoon. Men bow down in awe. Or something along those lines. The best part about this month? SLEEP! 7.5 hours? Boo-yah. The worst part about this month? EAR INFECTION. A minor cold morphed into a full-blown infection and Max had to take his first round of antibiotics. He took it like a champ and never lost his smile.

Tucson Festival of Books. Putting the "fly" in flyleaf.

Tucson Festival of Books. Putting the “fly” in flyleaf.

Month 6 – Spring is in full bloom and Max is growing like a weed. He experienced his first Easter ever with the grandparents in Sedona. The bunny costume? Beyond cute. At this point we’ve realized Max has the gift of gab. He babbled quite a bit before. However, this month…he wakes up at 4 a.m. to talk to himself. Seems everyone can’t get enough of Max. Even him.

Max pulling off bunny chic better than Peter Cotton-Whosit.

Max pulling off bunny chic better than Peter Cotton-Whosit.

Month 7 – This kid is on the move! I thought crawling was impressive. Yet, in just a few short weeks he is able to sit-up, army crawl and scoot. We also took Max in the pool for the first time ever. He couldn’t get enough. We all love pool time because the buoyancy helps alleviate the strain of hauling around an 18-lb. baby. Max starts to chew on everything he can find: coasters, dog bowls (don’t worry, they were cleaned beforehand) and his parent’s arms. We soon find out why when we see his first tooth emerge!

Total waterbug.

Total waterbug.

Month 8 – Max pulls himself up on everything. He’s tasted the freedom that crawling has given him; he now wants to walk. With his second new tooth popping through, he’s exploring all kinds of foods: puffs, apples, blueberries, sweet potatoes. This month also brings forth another dreaded sickness: Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. Otherwise known as “%$@#%$@#  %$@%@$   @%$@%@” disease. With blisters emerging on his limbs and mouth, life is pretty miserable for a solid week. This sickness is brutal and raged like a wildfire through the daycare. 10 out of 12 kids in his class were down for the count.

Max showing you how to keep cool in the desert heat.

Max showing you how to keep cool in the desert heat.

Month 9 – The cute levels at this stage are beyond description. Max claps, babbles, explores, hides, and mimics what he hears. This month also marked his first plane ride, first trip out of state and first trip to the beach! This kid is going places…but only in the safety of our laps.

The puffs as teeth get me every time...

The puffs as teeth get me every time…

Month 10 – Max is super interactive. He loves to clap, dance, wave, wiggle – you name it, he’s on it. His favorite word to use is “Uh-ohhhhh” which is a relief because my sailor mouth could have created a much more dire circumstance. This month we also took a baby sign class to learn key phrases such as, “Milk,” “More,” and “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?” Max catches on a like the baby pro he is.

At least half ended up in his belly.

At least half ended up in his belly.

Month 11 – Now that he knows sign language, Max can demand things so much more efficiently. MORE puffs. MORE MILK. MORE MORE MORE. Some of his favorite discoveries this month include the bouncy-ness of rubber balls, the float-aculer appeal of bubbles and the refreshing taste of cucumbers. All the parents from daycare class love Max because he waves and smiles to them as they come and go. Mr. Congeniality.

Twice as cute without food on his face!

Twice as cute without food on his face!

Month 12 – Wait a minute. A near-toddler is in our midst. WhoWhatWhenWhereWhy and most importantly – How?! As we prep for the birthday festivities, Max is cruising around the house pushing objects with him for stability. He loves chicken, cheerios and Megablocks. It’s hard to believe that he’s such a little boy now. G and I regularly fawn over his baby photos and marvel at the changes we’ve been fortunate enough to experience.

Striking a pose.

Striking a pose.

This first year has been amazing. G and I have been growing there right along with him. We’ve learned how to change diapers, survive on mere hours of sleep, multi-task with one-hand, and love wholly and unconditionally.

Thank you, Max.

Time Stand Still

October 17th, 2013

I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since Maxwell brought so much happiness into our life. So much has happened that I have a difficult time thinking of a “topic” to write about. It’s a bit geeky that I can find inspiration in a song by my favorite rock group, Rush. They wrote the song “Time Stand Still” (really, REALLY bad video) in the late 1980’s but it strikes home with how I feel as Max reaches the end of his first year of life.

“Freeze this moment a little bit longer…”

I know there are memories that I’m eventually going to forget as Max gets older. Thankfully, the nearly sleepless nights of his early months is becoming almost a nostalgic thing. But I think we’re lucky in this age of easily-accessible camera phones to be able to hit record at a moment’s notice and capture something that in another place and time, wouldn’t have been possible. I know that beyond Max’s circle of influence these short snippets of Max’s life is about as exciting as watching paint dry but to me, these are gems that I’ll never have to forget about.

Just in the last couple of months, Max is really learning and growing exponentially. He’s now understanding us, and while he can’t vocalize, he actually is beginning to use ‘baby’ sign language. He understands what Yes and No means and is beginning to use it himself. He waves and says “hi.” We still haven’t heard Momma or Dada yet, but I’m sure they’re right around the corner. I’m convinced he can walk but he’s a little unconfident. But put him behind his stroller or let him hold your hands and he’s off at full-speed.

I can’t wait to see what his second year brings!

And to bore everyone, here is one of my favorite videos of Max:

You can find more videos (and recent ones, too!) on the videos page.

One Innie, Please

May 17th, 2013

I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know how belly buttons were created. When Trish and I were discussing baby things before Max was born, I told her that I wanted to make sure the doctor knew that I wanted Max to have an “Innie.”  Trish, trying her best to save my feelings, told me that it wasn’t up to us; that Max’s “Bee-Bo” would become an innie or outie by itself. I can’t help but laugh at my naiveté.

At his one-month checkup, his pediatrician said that it was getting close to coming off so we were keeping an eye on it.  We were visiting my parents during Thanksgiving at their home in Sedona, and Max was almost exactly one month old. His little umbilical stub was still stubbornly attached, and I wondered… Innie or Outie?

One of Max’s hungry cries woke us up at 2 or 3 a.m. (I can’t remember now) but I do remember it was my shift. (As a side-note, Trish generally takes the 10pm-2am shift, and I take the 2-6am shift.) So, it was my turn when Max’s wail brought me out of slumber.

I groggily grabbed his changing bag, a bottle of milk, and headed out into the dark living room to leave Trish dreaming away. Max needed to be changed so I laid him out on the marble seating area surrounding the fireplace, and got to changing him.  As I was swapping diapers, I heard a patter of a small object falling, but in the dim light I couldn’t see what it was, assuming something fell out of his changing bag. (You’ve probably guessed it by now, huh?)

With Max now clean, dry, stuffed with milk, and passed out cold, I headed back to bed.

The next morning, I was changing him again and to my surprise I noticed his belly was nice and smooth with no umbilical nub! I checked his onsie and sleep-sack and couldn’t find the nub.  Then a small bell rung in my memory, and sure enough… Max’s little umbilical cord nub was lying on the fireplace surround.

Smiling, I showed Trish. Our little boy had what I had originally ordered: The most adorable “innie” I’ve ever seen.

Max’s Debut

December 27th, 2012

Around mid-October, I was getting the unmistakable pregnancy waddle. Sleeping was increasingly uncomfortable, swelling caused my feet to look like balloons and my hands to ache from carpal tunnel symptoms, and anything on the floor, well, it just stayed there or was kicked out of sight. I expected to continue this trend well into November since this was my first pregnancy and I was certain Max would show up a week past his due date of October 25.

However, being a type A personality, I figured I could push things up a bit.

I was right.

Apparently, a night of hot wings and a long morning walk did the trick. By Sunday evening, I was feeling contractions. I wasn’t sure if they were the real thing or Braxton Hicks. By ten p.m. I could no longer sleep and was Googling “Should I go into work with contractions?” I started timing them. They were definitely getting stronger and were pacing at 5 minutes apart.

Then, the big moment. My water broke. 11:30 p.m. “Expletive. Expletive. Expletive. Expletive.”

I ran to wake up Graeme, “Um, we need to go to the hospital.” Our bags were packed, the diaper bag was ready, the birth plan and insurance papers were firmly in hand. We scrambled to the car.

Game face.

We arrived at the hospital a little past midnight and were the only two patients in the maternity ward. Not one to pass up opportunity, I quickly asked, “Can we have the biggest room?”

As they checked us in, I could really feel the contractions. It was getting harder to concentrate and I needed to focus on my breathing. Luckily, Graeme was right there to help me and keep things moving. We were going to meet our little boy soon!

That’s when things took a turn for the worse. The nurses noticed my blood pressure was going up. It was stellar all through pregnancy and I certainly felt fine, but their charts indicated otherwise. Apparently, I was developing symptoms of preeclampsia during labor. That happens? This was not in my birth plan.

Then, Max decided to speed up the whole delivery process. I dilated from 2 to 5 centimeters in less than an hour. Soon after that, I was at 7. The contractions were big now. So big, that when one would happen, Max’s heart rate would drop. WHAT?!

The nurses would quickly rush in, checking monitors, flipping me on my side, putting new bags of fluids in my IV, and telling me to focus on breathing from an oxygen mask. Max’s heart rate was pacing at 140 most of the time. Then 100. Then 80. Then…40.

40. Those moments felt like an eternity. Time slowed with his heart rate.

This wasn’t working. Max was stressed. Any labor progress I made was quickly diminishing. The million people (hyperbole!) staring down at me in the room suggested I take the leap.

C-Section.

After 7 hours of controlled, yet panicked labor and at the advice of the surrounding doctors and medical professionals, I agreed to take the leap. My dreams of bouncing on a labor ball and getting massages flew out the window hours ago anyway. It was time to get serious. My birth plan was toilet paper.

It’s amazing how quickly a medical team can prep you for surgery. Within minutes I was in the OR. I was frightened. I had never had surgery before. Ever. 3 minutes is not enough time to mentally prepare for this sort of thing. Luckily, I had an amazing husband and medical team by my side. Graeme held my hand. The doctors talked me through everything. And then…

Max.

I couldn’t see him, but I could hear his cry. They quickly brought him around the sheet to show me. I bawled.

That moment.

The moment you meet your destiny.

You experience past, present, and future all in one tiny, but significant moment.

Screw the dreams of a perfect labor, what really mattered was my perfect baby.

Maxwell Winter Hunt, born October 22, 2012 at 10:33 a.m. at University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona.

 

Love him!