Ethan's birthday was yesterday -- Friday the 22nd -- but I'm going to break up his birthday posts into different days, leading up to his birthday party next weekend. I'll kick things off with his 12 month update.

Ethan came down with a little cold on his birthday. Mostly he's been in good spirits despite being snotty and sniffly, although the past two nights have been kind of rough at best. It stinks, but I'm glad that it happened now and not during his party (which I have admittedly been planning since before he was even born).

I'm pretty much at a loss for words in regards to Ethan turning one. It doesn't feel like a year has gone by and yet I can't deny it anymore: my baby is one. I have a one year old. It's completely crazy and unreal and I can't believe it, but here it is. At one year, Ethan weighs 25 1/2 pounds and is 31.75 inches long. That puts him in the 81st percentile for height and the 80th for weight. He's currently wearing 18-24 month clothing with a few 2T's thrown into the mix, depending on the brand. He has eight teeth with a ninth almost ready to break through. He's not walking yet but over the past two days he's started to stand unassisted for longer periods of time.

His favorite foods are banana, cheese, sweet potato pancakes and ravioli smothered in tomato sauce. His new favorite activity is putting smaller toys inside of bigger things or stacking toys on top of one another. He especially loves taking the balls out of his ball pit and seeing what he can balance them on.

He loves animals, Max and Ruby books, drinking water from his straw cup and bubblebaths. He hates naptime, sleeping in general and when his daddy is at work. He loves babbling and attempting to say new words. His favorite word is "dat" (that) which he exclaims constantly while pointing his curious finger at the object or person in question.

And just like that, a year has gone by and my baby is one year old. I don't think I've fully accepted it yet.


almost but not quite yet one.

My husband keeps saying that we have a one-year old. I'm quick to correct him because, well, my baby isn't one until tomorrow. I'm clinging to his fleeting infancy with everything I have. Right now I'm a good mix of denial and tears. We'll see how I do tomorrow on Ethan's actual birthday. Gosh. His birthday. It can't be!

I spent Ethan's naptime today reading old entries from my personal journal. On this day last year, I was lamenting over the 104 degree weather, the way my ankles were so swollen that my mother laid frozen chicken breasts over them, the humiliation I felt when my pregnancy hemorrhoids bled all over the chair in the lobby of my OB's office and the dreamy doctor who delivered Ethan had to clean me up. One year ago today, I looked like this...

(c) Debra Weisheit Photography

...and life kind of sucked. This time last year, I was one day away from having my water break all over the guest bathroom of my parents house while my fifteen year old sister looked on in horror. I can't glamorize it. I'm glad it's not this time last year.

So even though I'm a mess over my baby turning one, it's a better kind of mess than I was this time last year. This year, this week signifies so much more than swollen ankles and heartburn and waking up to pee 4,000 times per night. This week signifies my baby turning one and that means time for fun!

I've been busy packing a ridiculous amount of fun into each and every day this week. Grocery shopping? Perfect excuse to wear a birthday hat and dance down the aisles. Our mommy and me class at My Gym? Time to party!

Today was Ethan's one year check-up at his pediatrician's office. He wore the "birthday boy" ribbon I had found at Target earlier this week. On the elevator ride up to the 2nd floor, the other passengers in the elevator broke out into song, singing "Happy Birthday" to Ethan while he stared at them with his typical serious face.

My little boy? My baby? He's in the 81st percentile for height and the 80th percentile for weight. As if I needed another reminder that my itty-bitty little baby is about to explode into toddlerhood.

Our week of fun continues with a ravioli lunch (Ethan's favorite) and a trip to the bookstore to play with the trains. And somehow, someway, my baby is going to turn one tomorrow -- but I can't think about that yet. Not yet.


i rose from a dream; we were running

Today and I weren't going to get along. I knew that going to sleep last night, waking up in the middle of the night and trying to suffocate the dread in my stomach long enough to sleep until the morning. Today was The Day, the one where we would meet with Ethan's GI doctor in the afternoon and go over his bloodwork results and would find out once and for all if he actually had Celiac disease now that we knew he had a marker.

Dealing with Celiac is tricky. While, yes, obviously things could be worse, Ethan having the marker for Celiac was still this big black hole in my heart that I couldn't even begin to touch. I didn't want to think about it until I had to and, well, as of today, I had to.

Ethan and I got to the office early. Twenty minutes early, to be exact. Something about being anxious at home and feeling the walls close in on us (or me, rather, as Ethan was quite content playing with his toys in his playroom). Something about the stagnancy of the indoors and the inability to find comfort. It was easier to just get in the car and make the short drive to the medical center where we sat in the grass by the lake and fed the ducks the pile of O's that Ethan had dumped on the floor of the car. We fed the ducks and ignored both the heat and the looming black clouds and just sat for the last moments before our lives could become different, quacking and laughing and tossing soggy multi-grain cereal to the ducks and birds.

My husband met us in the exam room just as they were weighing Ethan. The nurse told me not to leave a wet diaper on him but I was too frazzled and left a wet diaper on him anyway. She didn't seem to notice. The doctor came in and I couldn't decide if I wanted to sit or stand or breathe or not breathe but then he smiled and blurted out that everything was fine, Ethan was fine, he didn't have Celiac, he just had to get that out of the way before we discussed anything else at all. Then I could breathe and my main issue was focusing on not jumping up and squeezing the life out of Ethan's doctor in the biggest hug possible.

I stared at the copies of Ethan's labwork the entire drive home. I stole peeks of it at every red light that we hit. Negative. The word just kept popping out to me, like something beautiful and majestic and entrancing that I couldn't keep my eyes off of. It was like my heart just breathed the biggest sigh of relief.


carry this picture for luck, tucked in a locket

I've been tearing up reading the sweet testimonials to daddies everywhere that everyone has been posting today and here is my own because, well, when you're dealing with a daddy as awesome as my husband is, a blog entry devoted entirely to him is the very least that one can do.

My husband and I have been together since we were fifteen and sixteen years old. I've had the opportunity to spend the past decade finding new reasons to fall in love with him over and over again and still, nothing can compare to the plunge in love with him I experienced when I saw him hold our son in his arms for the first time. It was a feeling of love, of gratitude, of safety and feeling whole in ways I never thought possible (or knew our lives were lacking). My husband is everything I could want in a husband, in a best friend, in a soulmate, in a partner. He is the kind of man that I want Ethan to look up to, that I want Ethan to grow up to be: a real man, a respectable man. One who has conviction and belief in what is right, one with determination to do anything he sets his mind to. With my husband as his father, I know Ethan will grow to proudly respect women, to respect himself, to celebrate equality and respect for humankind. I know that his heart will be pure and strong and brave and not afraid to love, to cry, to admit defeat (okay, maybe we're still working on that one!) and to be a bigger person when dealing with those with cruel intentions. I know that with him as his father, Ethan will know the value of hard work, of family, of charity and kindness, of goodnight kisses and good morning to you! sing-a-longs.

Watching my husband fall so effortlessly into his role as Ethan's daddy has been a gift comparable only to watching Ethan himself grow into the beautiful boy that he is. Each evening when my husband walks in the door and, without even changing out of his work clothes, throws himself on the floor to play with Ethan, it completely makes my day. I am lucky to have him as my husband and Ethan is so lucky to have him as his daddy.

I remember my own dad having an old wooden frame on his office desk while I was growing up with a tag that read "anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a daddy." Happy (very first) Father's Day to my wonderful husband and thank you for all that you do and all that you are.

Since today was Father's Day, my husband got to pick everything that happened today. All he wanted to do was spend every moment possible with Ethan and so that's what we did: just spent time, just played, just enjoyed the day so much that come bedtime Ethan refused to sleep even though his eyes were closing. Of course, no holiday is complete without ice-cream so we made a stop at my husband's very favorite ice-cream place for some yummy milkshakes (and a banana, which is what Ethan ordered).

I exist in this blog post solely because I finally got a much needed haircut. I no longer look like an even more haggard conglomerate of David Crosby, Michelle Duggar and Sammy Hagar. Speaking of haircuts, Ethan needs one badly. I set him an appointment for next week so his hair is dapper for his birthday bash because, let me tell you, this kid's hair grows like crazy. Can you believe it'll be his third haircut and he's not even one yet?!

Anyway, back on track, the only other thing my husband wanted to do today was take Ethan for his first bike ride. Unfortunately we couldn't find an infant-sized helmet anywhere but online so plans for an epic first bike ride were pushed aside. Still, nothing was getting anyone down on this Father's Day so they just went for a ride up and down our street. Ethan didn't notice a difference. He laughed and screamed with delight the entire time.

All in all, it was an awesome day for an awesome daddy...right down to bedtime.


your voice like the sound of sirens to a house on fire

A year before Ethan was conceived, I found myself at the beginning of something that I can only think to describe as some kind of quarter-life crisis. It was a term that made people chuckle or roll their eyes, assuring me that I was still young and didn’t know what a true crisis was all about. There was most definitely a crisis brewing within me and though I wasn’t at all able to give it a name that didn’t trivialize it, it was there.

I was working long days at a job that I hated for skimpy paychecks that could barely cover my gas for the week, coming home frustrated and trying to figure out how to live. Trying to figure out how to be a pleasant, happy companion for my wonderful husband, how to fix dinners and tend to laundry and make time for friends and family without running out of steam. Mostly I just napped on the couch. There was something missing. At first I thought I just needed to read more. I used to read a minimum of five books a week and I was barely making time to finish two or three a month. So I read more, cooked more, baked more, watched more films, listened to more music and yet nothing filled that untouchable void that I couldn’t reach. I found myself on a therapist’s couch, desperately trying to figure out who I was. Who I really, really, really was.

I toyed with feelings of inferiority and insecurity about the path I took after high school. “Published author at 17 who attends community college in a backwards, backwoods town just to not be separated from her boyfriend who was already in college first” made me sound like the kind of person I hated and secretly (or not-so secretly) judged in predictable cotton candy movies. I loved my husband from the first moment I laid eyes on him as a fifteen year old girl who wrote about love and longing in journals with scalloped pages and knew I would never dream to do things differently. The pain and tragedy and love and explosion of romanticism was always a part of me, always longing to be lived out and loving with each goodnight kiss over the years that it got to be. Yet I had not become a writer as so many thought and I found myself making excuses ad nauseum for the reasons behind my failures. Or were they failures? Or were they nothing at all but pipedreams cloaked in remnants of promise?

Before long, I wasn’t sure who I was. I tried desperately to figure it out, turning to the books I used to read and the melancholy singers I used to cry along with, hoping one of them would spell it out for me and place me where I belonged. I reconnected with old friends, hoping they would share a piece of my story to remind me who I was. As it would turn out, my very first boyfriend’s recounting of a 14 year old me wasn’t who I was – probably fortunately – and I continued my quest for self-confirmation.

My husband is a realist. He always has been, whereas I take dreams as gospel. We spoke about having children constantly over the years, especially during those years where you stop rolling your eyes at toddlers playing at the table next to you at Cheesecake Factory and instead make silly faces at them, laugh with them, engage in conversation about how nifty their shoes are and how great their drawings are, only to be sadly reminded they’re going home with their parents, and so you spend the drive home throwing out names for your future children and imagining their careers and dreams and goals and, oh, if they’ll have your eyes or your nose or your mouth or your bad skin and droopy hair.

The decision to have children of our own was made during this time when something was missing from our lives, when I couldn’t figure out who I was and what I was supposed to be doing with my days, when my husband was working around the clock and we were beginning to miss one another with the feverish, clammy pangs of hurt that we got as highschoolers having to go home to our parents houses for the night. A lot of things hold sentimental in regards to Ethan’s conception – mostly because I’m just a sentimental person – but one thing hits me the strongest: the day I peed on that stick (okay, 27 of them), I stopped feeling lost. I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I stopped feeling like I failed at anything or everything or maybe even some things. I stopped trying to figure out who I was, mostly because I had just figured it out: I was a mother. And as the second set of pink lines appeared on all of those tests, that void within my heart was filled. I was a mother.

My pregnancy wasn’t glamorous. It was disgusting and probably unsanitary as only sleeping next to coolers of your own urine could be. It was scary – okay, terrifying – and painful and maybe some things didn’t go the way I idealistically planned while I sat on bedrest writing the blueprints for my son’s first months of life. Yet even sitting on my mother’s couch with frozen chicken breasts on my swollen, throbbing ankles, I was complete in ways I never imagined that I could be. And while my husband and parents and relatives and friends mostly worried about my well-being during those foreboding perinatologist appointments, I was mostly worried about that little boy inside my belly because already I loved him. Already I knew him, and not just because his foot aimed right at my butt rendered me unable to sit without the assistance of a blow-up hemorrhoid pillow.

So here I sit, almost a year since Ethan was born. I’m fairly in denial about this whole “turning one” thing, mainly because I can’t believe so much time has passed since the day he came screaming into this world at 11:45 p.m. on my great-grandfather’s birthday. I’m also just really, really blown away that it’s been a year since Ethan breathed all of this new purpose and meaning into my life and showed me what it really means to be me. More than the films and the literature and parting my hair to the left and not wearing any lipgloss other than light pink and not driving in the rain, he was able to show me who I really was inside. I’ve always been longing to be his mother and then I was, just like that, and now he’s almost a year old, just like that.

My Bubbie used to call me “a jack of all trades, master of none” and we’d laugh at what a truth that was. I wish she was here to see me now, though, as Ethan’s mother. I’ve finally found something I’ve mastered. I’ve finally found something I wanted more than anything and maybe never knew I needed so badly and I get to kiss it good morning and good night and listen to him laugh when I tickle just to the left of his bellybutton.

You are the yellow bird that I've been waiting for...


ethan the scientist

In between fun summer days spent at water parks and splash pads, Ethan and I did something a little bit different today. I had received a postcard in the mail from the Child Development Lab at our local college, Florida Atlantic University, looking for babies willing to participate in a research study. Actually, my husband retrieved the postcard from the mailbox and handed it right over to me, saying that it seemed like something I'd be interested in. He was right. I called to set up Ethan's appointment the next day. When it comes to science, I'm more than happy to do my part to help. And when this study is published, how cool will it to be to say Ethan was part of it?! (Not that I'm really dorky or anything.)

The FAU campus is huge. Thanks to the awesome directions from the Child Development Lab, Ethan and I were able to quickly find the correct building. I had flashbacks to my own college days and that dreadful feeling of getting utterly and completely lost in a sea of cement buildings that all look the same. Strolling through the breezeway at FAU made me realize just how long ago it was that I was in college myself, running from class to class, trying to navigate the campus that was frighteningly bigger than the high school I was used to.

We found our way and then Ethan got to be an honorary scientist for the afternoon!

Watching Ethan do his part to help science (and mankind, as his certificate points out) was pretty cool. He hadn't napped well or long today and I was hoping he wouldn't meltdown before finishing what we had to do. I learned he'd have to watch some videos which also made me nervous, considering he's never watched television before so I wasn't sure how he'd react to having to stare at a series of videos. Of course, it only made sense the Baby Lab researchers would know what to expect when it came to babies so they were armed with a box of Cheerios. Say no more. Ethan leisurely munched on the Cheerios while watching the films they put on for him from the comfort of his plush high chair.

It's safe to say Ethan was a pretty big fan of helping science. I think he could have helped science all day.

He walked out with a certificate of his very own that I've already proudly tucked into his baby book. Hooray for science and thanks for the cool afternoon, FAU Baby Lab!


i'm guest blogging today!

In honor of June being her wedding month, Amber over at Sneakers Over Stilettos asked a few of us bloggers to spill the details on our wedding days. I was one of those lucky bloggers! Head on over to Amber's awesome blog to read about our wedding day as well as the wedding days of some other fantastic bloggers!

the germ terminator toothbrush sanitizer review and giveaway

I'm really excited to share this product with you guys today. The Germ Terminator is a countertop toothbrush sanitizer that cleans your toothbrushes using a powerful and effective blend of steam and dry heat. Your toothbrushes are then stored in a germ-free environment until you're ready to use them again. Finding out that a product like this existed was so exciting to me. I'm pretty neurotic about germs (if you haven't noticed), especially when it came to Ethan's toothbrush. I was replacing his toothbrush twice weekly just to keep the germs at bay. With his less than stellar immune system, it felt like playing with fire continually using the same toothbrush. After all, it's no secret how many germs and bacteria that a standard toothbrush can hold. The Germ Terminator ends my seemingly endless toothbrush shopping sprees and helps ease my neurosis for a bit. I was pretty impressed with how easy it is to use, from set up (which I did myself in about thirty seconds) to use. All you have to do is pour one little cap-ful of water into the reservoir and the Germ Terminator does the rest for you.

Once you pour the water in, steam immediately begins to fill the toothbrush chamber. I love that this uses steam to clean and disinfect the toothbrushes. I've seen plenty of other toothbrush cleansers on the market and was pretty repulsed by the idea of spraying chemicals onto the bristles that I'm just going to stick into Ethan's mouth. So what about the ultraviolet light sterilizers? UV rays can only clean the areas exposed to the light, like flat surfaces or the air. Steam can effectively clean between bristles and the Germ Terminator then stores your toothbrushes in a germ free environment until next use. It's the safest, the most natural and the most effective product out there -- it kills over 99.9% of germs! From influenza to e.coli, the Germ Terminator gets rid of them all.

BUY IT: The Germ Terminator retails for $49.99 and can be purchased here on their website!

DO YOU BLOG? If you're a blogger interested in the Germ Terminator, they want to hear from you! Please e-mail me your name and a link to your blog for more information!

WIN IT: The awesome folks over at Germ Terminator are offering one of my readers the chance to win an ultimate Germ Terminator prize pack! The winner will receive one Germ Terminator toothbrush sanitizer ($49.99), a waterproof travel case ($34.95) and a copy of the book Why You're Toothbrush Might Be Killing You Slowly by Germ Terminator CEO James Song.

The giveaway is open to US residents and ends at 12:01 a.m. on June 27th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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