We made it through the first year! Alex is officially a one-year-old! We are so thrilled and elated! The time keeps going by more quickly and more quickly. (This post is delayed, as we have been away on vacation and I recently took a break from the blog.) The theme this month, summed up in one word, is grateful. We are so grateful that we made it through the first year, a feat. Most of all, we are so incredibly grateful for Alex, our long-awaited rainbow baby. Our lives will never be the same and we are extremely grateful to have a healthy child! The first year felt long, at times, but short simultaneously, if that makes any sense. There were days that I felt so utterly exhausted, for what felt like days on end, in contrast to days that were filled with great joy and everything else in between! I did my best to be (and continue to be) present in it all. The moments, after all, are so fleeting.
Most importantly, our baby Alex is turning into a little girl, before our very eyes, which seems difficult to fathom. Alex is literally running these days! She loves to explore, climb stairs, go through our lower cabinets, nightstands, dressers, and carry bowls around the house, etc. (We still have some kitchen baby proofing to finish!) She always loves to have something in her hands while she explores. Her favorite toy is her play phone, which she loves! She really loves all toys that play music! She currently says: ‘mamma,’ ‘dada,’ ‘uh oh’, ‘cuckoo’ (Korean for peek-a-boo) and ‘umma’ (Korean for mom). She does lots of babbling as well. One of her favorite things to do is dance. She loves music, including the ABC song, and most any song. She understands rhythm; and she wiggles her whole body, and it is just hilarious and heart-warming to witness! I frequently gaze back at her in the car and she is wiggling her body to the music playing! Alex also loves the park. We take Alex and Victory to the park, frequently, and Alex loves carrying her toys around and picking up everything off the ground! She likes the swing and the slide, too! She also still loves going to the pool and she floated, with assistance, recently, on her back! Alex also loves to go to the bookstore where she loves to explore! We are looking into a dance class that might take one-year-olds and we will start her in swim lessons this fall since she continues to like the water and she loves bath time more than ever these days! Doug has coined it her ‘long soak!’ Overall, Alex is a busy bee and she is living her best life.
At the beginning of this month we also celebrated Doug’s first Father’s Day and, some images, documenting that special day, are shown below as well. Doug (and Alex) opened gifts that morning and we all went out to lunch and spent the day together followed by ice cream in the evening with Victory! Alex also had her first Fourth of July celebration this year! She looked really cute in her spirit-themed outfit! We also had a great date night this month — we saw the Rolling Stones! Additionally, we had a painting made, which now hangs in our home, shown below, of our beloved cherubs made by the talented artist, Chelsey Luster. We are so pleased with the painting of our girls. Victory, of course, is still involved and integrated more than ever; and she is still an attentive ‘big sister.’ She still joins Alex in the early mornings and waits in Alex’s nursery for Alex to come in after bath time for ‘night-night’ in the evenings! It is absolutely adorable. They sit next to each other in the car — I imagine Victory knows that Alex is strapped into her car seat! Alex is still learning not to grab Victory’s fur — Alex tries to chase her, but Victory is way too fast! It is hilarious to watch!
Alex recently had her one-year doctor’s appointment and she is, again, off the charts with her size! Alex has almost already out grown her Bugaboo Fox! If we had known, we would have got the Bob stroller off the bat. So, we will have to get the Bob stroller next, and that should be our final stroller for Alex! She continues to work on getting her molars and two more teeth on the top and bottom, two of which has cracked her gums. She will go to the dentist for the first time soon! She started eating meat for the first time this month — she likes turkey and chicken. She is now also drinking only whole milk and water. She still loves yogurt and fruit. She is sleeping through the night as of the eleventh month, and it has been so helpful for us. It took us awhile to get here, but, alas, it has been so nice to sleep. She is still up really early in the mornings and she occasionally gets up with her teething, but she is sleeping through the majority of nights, thankfully. Also, we recently had her first parent-teacher conference at her play school, which went really well. Alex is thriving and her teacher described Alex as: bold, adventurous, curious, and stubborn! We think these adjectives do describe her well right now! She is a strong person in personality and physical strength!
Notably, we celebrated Alex’s first birthday this month! The morning of Alex’s birthday, we celebrated her birthday at home, as a family, just prior to leaving for our vacation to the beach that day! We decorated her room where we opened gifts together; Victory also joined us, of course! Then, Alex and Victory each had a vanilla cupcake, minus the icing for Victory! I am not sure if Alex knew what to make of the cupcake, but she did smash it up pretty well, with some help, and we stripped her down to her diaper in short order! We then had a birthday dinner with Alex in Rehoboth Beach! Some images from her actual birthday are shown below, a day I will never forget! She loves her climber that my parents gave to her along with her first baby doll that we gave her, Wee Baby Stella, whom she affectionately sleeps with! She loves her other various toys she received from us, friends, and family!
Additionally, soon after returning from vacation, we had a first birthday celebration for Alex with friends and family! A good time was had by all! We had a pink and gold themed birthday for Alex’s first birthday. I had the most fun designing Alex’s cake that was in keeping with the theme of Alex and Victory’s monthly photos along with our first vacation together, shown below! And, the cake decorator, Rachel, did a truly wonderful job bringing my vision to fruition, which came to me earlier this year! Doug and I were really pleased and everyone loved the cake! The birthday cake features Alex and Victory at the beach atop the cake along with water color butterflies painted along the perimeter of the cake, which ties into the invitations, while also representing the metamorphosis of our family this year, along with beautiful, life like, roses, as “Rose” is Alex’s middle name after Doug’s beloved Grandma Rose. (Water color roses were also painted on Alex’s swim suit.) We served our favorite ice cream with the cake — Jeni’s ice cream! Alex enjoyed her cupcake with a fondant butterfly coordinating with her birthday cake; and, overall, Alex had a nice time at her party and she looked adorable! We are so very grateful that we were able to celebrate this special time! A few images from Alex’s birthday celebration are below along with a video from this special day.
We also recently took our first vacation together as a family of four! Doug literally found one of the only places to rent at Rehoboth Beach that permitted a baby and furry family member! We had so much gear to pack for our trip, we thought initially that we were going to have to take two cars! It took a long time to pack, but, fortunately, we really did not forget any items, and Doug managed, somehow, to get everything in one car along with Alex, Victory, and I in the back seat. Due to traffic and the Bay Bridge back up, it took us over four hours to get to the beach, much longer than usual; Alex did pretty well, but she definitely is not a fan of being in her car seat for any long periods of time! But, we made it! And, we got both of our cherubs to the beach in the evenings, which was no small feat! Alex loved the ocean; she walked on the beach; and she even went swimming in the ocean! It was really nice to get away together and we all love the ocean! We have many wonderful memories! I will do a separate blog post pertaining to our vacation, in the near future, but a few images, providing a snapshot, are shown below.
This month, while celebrating a big milestone, has been full of some really exciting changes and Alex will, for sure, continue to really keep us on our toes. We love our girls and we are embracing it all, and we feel extremely blessed!
A few highlights from Alex’s twelfth month include:
-she is all over our house into everything! It is really unbelievable!
-she is climbing the stairs on her own, which is a little terrifying!
-she still loves the pool!
-she loved her trip to the ocean and she did really well!
-she loves to clap her hands and wiggle her body to songs, especially the ABC song!
-she is sleeping through the night, most nights! We are so, so grateful!
-she is tolerating us brushing her teeth!
-she loves being with other kids and interacting with them!
-she is being a little more adventurous with food — she is trying more things! She had ice cream for the first time this month and she liked it!
-she still likes going for stroller rides and she loves going to the park where she walks around!
-she loves bath time more than ever these days! she has a lot of bath toys that she plays with and she loves standing up in the bath and walking around in the water. Her new favorite thing to do is to play a game where she turns the water on, and I turn it off, and it just continues. I suppose we will have to break this at some point soon!
-she is still very alert, curious, observant, and she loves for things to be her way! She still loves to interact with other kids and observe them, and she is still enjoying her play school!
A few highlights I would like to remember:
-photographing and making videos of Alex — I want to remember and capture as much as I can!
-remembering our first vacation together.
-remembering Alex’s first visit to the ocean!
-remembering Alex enjoying the pool!
-remembering Alex giving the biggest kisses ever!
-remembering how Alex loves to have her burp cloth over her eyes when she takes her bottle before her nap and bedtime.
-remembering how Alex sticks out her tongue slightly when she concentrates like her Daddy!
-remembering her curiosity and determination.
-remembering Alex climbing the stairs for the first time on her own!
-she loves her toys and she still loves to pull them all out and play!
-remembering our walks together around the neighborhood in her Bugaboo, which she loves!
-remembering greeting Alex each morning. Some mornings, I swear, she has grown over night!
-remembering Alex’s curls — her hair is growing at a pretty rapid rate!
-remembering that Alex is always up for a new adventure!
-remembering how Doug turns Alex upside down like a bat and Alex just giggles and giggles!
-watching her explore her environment — which has grown ten-fold for her because she is really on the move now, and I am not sure we are ready!
-watching her interact with Victory! Alex loves to try to capture Victory to no avail!
-loving how she smells after her baths!
-loving on her long, velvety and smooth body!
-marveling at her smile — she has the most wonderful smile that melts our hearts, and now we can see all nine of her teeth!
-admiring her eyes — they are the prettiest deep blue eyes I have ever seen!
-loving her long and lovely dark eye lashes!
-knowing on the days that I feel totally exhausted, that I will someday really miss these early days, and I need to remind myself, at times of this fact. The daily exhaustion is improving, some.
-still asking myself what will I miss about this time of my life when it’s all gone? This question keeps everything in perspective.
-most of all, we are cherishing getting to be Alex’s parents!
Doug and I are very grateful for our little girl and our little family! We feel so fortunate and our hearts have grown so much since Alex’s arrival. We look forward to seeing Alex’s little personality continue to develop and unfold. Below are a few images: Alex’s monthly portrait; Alex and Victory’s monthly portrait; followed by photos of Alex throughout this month; and some iphone images during her twelfth month with us! You can read our birth story along with viewing images from Alex’s birth here; you can read Alex’s one month snapshot here; her two month snapshot here; her three month snapshot here; her four month snapshot here; her five month snapshot here; her six month snapshot here; her seven month snapshot here; her eight month snapshot here; her nine month post here; her ten month post here; and her eleven month post here.
(I finally completed the series of monthly photos with Alex and Victory to chronicle this first year together full of so many changes in such a short duration of time! It was not so easy!)
This month I have continued to work on finishing further revisions on my long-term photography project with my mentor in between everything. I am getting close to finishing revisions, an endless process, it seems. I will continue to photograph and take videos of Alex and our little family; however, I will likely not share them in this monthly format that I shared over Alex’s first year. I will continue print images of our family; make photo books of our family via Artifact Uprising, each year, chronicling our time together; and I will continue to write in Alex’s Promptly Journal. This is my attempt to capture and preserve our present and past for our future reflection.
See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!
Above, you can see the extraordinary change in only twelve months!
See how much Alex has grown as compared to last month!
Above, you can see the extraordinary change in only twelve months!
A few iphone images from this month!
The painting of our cherubs.
Here is a video of Alex in the swing at the park!
Here is a video of Alex swimming with mamma!
Here is a video of Alex swimming with daddy!
Here is a video of Alex on her actual birthday!
Here are several favorite images from Alex’s first birthday celebration!
Here is a video of Alex from her first birthday celebration!
Here is Alex’s first birthday cake inspiration board!
Here are a few favorite images from our recent vacation to Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach!
Here is a video of Alex and Victory together at the beach!