Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas Little One

Dear Isadora,

This year was the first "real" Christmas you ever had.  Not that last Christmas wasn't "real," but this year, you were old enough to participate in the magic and wonder that is Christmas.  And just like every year we've been married, your Dad and I started things off right this year with our annual family Christmas card (and we're so happy that you are now a part of the inspiration that goes into each card):

This was also the first year that you got to help make Christmas sugar cookies with your best friend, Zora:

And what would Christmas be without homemade decorations to put upon the mantle?  Mommy was so happy to give you markers to color your own reindeer and elf.  (I will treasure them always.)

But I think the best part of Christmas day was seeing you come down the stairs all by yourself...

...and hearing your genuine surprise when you saw what Santa left for you under the tree...

This was our first Christmas as a family -- just the three of us -- and it was magical.

Merry Christmas, my darling.



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Big Girl on Our Hands

Dear Isadora,

The moments seem to go by so fast.  Here are some my favorites this month:

Daddy's beard inspector

Playing hobo

Playing dress up

Eating Gigi's cupcakes for the first time

Learning to blow on a dandelion

Sharing your father's obsession with ranch-flavored Doritos

Riding Daddy's shoulders at the park

Being silly upside down

Embracing Japanese cuisine

So many happy moments -- and all because of you.

I love you.



Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving and a Trip to the Emergency Room

Dear Isadora,

The holidays are always a busy time of year for the Pattens, particularly Thanksgiving.  Mommy and daddy have had the honor of hosting Thanksgiving since 2008.  It's like our Super Bowl -- mommy and daddy gear up all year to plan the perfect menu and host family members who want to share that special day with us.  It's a lot of work, but we enjoy opening up our home and our kitchen to family.  It's a special time of year where we make the effort to catch up, drink wine (only when you're old enough!), and express the love we have for one another.  We laugh, we cry, and we share.

So much love in this room... #thankful

We had a full house!

This Thanksgiving was a particularly memorable one for mommy and not in a good way.  This was the Thanksgiving that mommy broke you.  Let me explain... as you will probably have no memory of this (thank goodness!).  It was the day after Thanksgiving.  Half of the family was gone watching a football game (Duke vs. Miami).  Mommy stayed at home with you to relax and prepare soup for that night's dinner.  As the soup simmered, your Aunt Kristie, Aunt Meredith, cousin Emily, Grandma Joyce, and Uncle Josh's girlfriend, Carrie, came to our house to help out and wait for the boys to come home from the game.

Pure happiness

All smiles before that uneventful evening

Your cousin Emily and I played with you outside to let you get some fresh air and kick around a soccer ball.  As one last hurrah before taking you back inside for dinner, we each took one of your arms and began to swing you across the driveway, making our way to the front door.  With each swing, you giggled -- until we reached the front of the house.  With that last swing, you let out a scream and tears started to explode from your sweet little face.  Instantly, I knew something was wrong and I thought, "Uh oh... Dislocation."

I rushed you into the house and took off your coat and began feeling your shoulders and elbows for anything unusual.  Every time I touched your arms, you cried even harder.  Your Aunt Kristie rushed to my side to help me evaluate your condition.  She noticed that your left arm was limp -- the arm that mommy was holding when we were swinging you in the front yard.  The only thought I could think was "I broke my baby."

I decided to take you to the emergency room.  Your Aunt Kristie agreed to drive.  On the way to the hospital, I had to call your daddy and tell him what happened.  Upon hearing his voice, I started to cry, too.  How could I tell him that I broke our baby?  But your daddy knew it was an accident and made sure to make mommy feel better about the whole situation.  Even your Aunt Kristie told me that accidents happen and that it's a part of being a mom.  Her ER stories did make mommy feel a little better, in a weird way.  She told me that she suspected you had a partial dislocation of the elbow.

Once we got to the emergency room, we waited patiently.  You were quiet and fell asleep in my arms.  (That's how I knew it was serious -- you never do that!)  The wonderful people at Rex Hospital saw us right away.  I don't think we waited longer than 20 minutes.  A nurse brought us back to a waiting room where we sat and waited.  A nurse practitioner came in, and I explained what happened to you.  He told me that it was a common injury with children your age.  He called it "nurse maid's elbow."  It is when the elbow becomes partially dislocated (Aunt Kristie was right!).  Once he gave me and Aunt Kristie the diagnosis, he gently tried to pull and twist your arm.  You did not like this one bit!  You began to wail and tears exploded from your eyes again.  He made three attempts to fix your elbow.  On the third try, you cried a long, slow wail and bent forward until your face almost touched your knees.  Once your elbow popped back into place, you used your arm to push the nurse practitioner away.  That action alone let me know that you were going to be okay.  (Though you did give the nurse practitioner a look that seemed to say "A pox on you and your family," as Aunt Kristie suggested.)

Another nurse came in and taped a pulse monitor on your finger while we waited for the doctor to come and release us from the hospital.  You DID NOT like that.  As soon as she left, you ripped it off your hand.  I didn't have the heart to put it back on your finger.

Once the doctor gave his approval, your Aunt Kristie and I scooped you up, and we headed straight to the McDonald's drive thru to get you a vanilla milkshake.  You earned it, my dear.

Baby gate down for Thanksgiving -- enjoying freedom.

Once back at home, you were your normal self, and no worse for the wear.  Thank God.

Love you!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's a New Day

Dear Isadora,

Last night, the majority of the country decided to re-elect Barack Obama as President of the United States for the next four years.  Today, some people in this country are very, very disappointed and have lost hope.  Other people are ecstatic and continue to have hope for this country's future.  Such is the state of many things in life, my dear.  There are ups and there are downs, but we accept and move on and adapt as necessary.

As you grow and start to understand the world, you will find that everyone has their own idea of what is right and just in this world.  As an American, you have the civic duty of voting and giving those ideas a voice.  It's a beautiful thing.  Sometimes you will find yourself a winner and sometimes you may find yourself a loser.  But I hope that no matter the category you find yourself in, you remain humble and respectful of the process.  Politics, you will find, much like other fiercely passionate topics such as sex and religion, are not the easiest conversations to have with someone, but I hope that you don't grow up oblivious to important events and decisions that could influence how you live your life in this country.  It's important to be informed and want to be informed.  It's important to recognize injustice and use your vote to make a change.  It's a lot of responsibility, I know, but I hope you don't shy away from it.

Mommy and daddy brought you with us to vote in this year's election.  We made it a family affair and headed to our designated voting location a week early to cast our votes.  Did you know that daddy didn't start voting until he met mommy?  Last night, he thanked me for encouraging him to exercise his right to vote.  I will do the same for you as soon as you are eligible to vote.  Just remember -- we may not always agree or see eye to eye on things, but I want you to know that I will always love you and will make an effort to respect and understand our differences.

Early voting completed

Always aim to rock the vote, Isadora.  Your voice is important.  Always remember that.



Friday, November 2, 2012

The Story of Hammer Leg

Dear Isadora,

One quirk that you have developed is standing up in the tub during bath time.  Instead of sitting down and enjoying the warm water and playing with your floating toys, you insist on standing and walking back and forth from one end of the tub to the other.  You occasionally throw your bath toys out of the tub and squeal and grunt to mommy and daddy, pointing at the toys so that we can fetch them for you.  (A fun game for you; not so much for mommy and daddy.)

Well, you've added the "hammer leg" move to your bath routine now.  What is the hammer leg, you ask?  It's this:

Making a splash with her "hammer leg" move.

As you walk from one end of the tub to the other, you swing your leg up and slam it down on the water, making very big splashes.  You do this with even more enthusiasm when mommy cheers you on, screaming "Hammer leg!"

Believe it or not, I told daddy that I think this move is hereditary and that you got this trait from mommy...  When daddy and I bought our first home, we bought two IKEA bookcases to fill the expanse of our living room walls.  If you know anything about IKEA furniture, assembly is always required (and it's not always the easiest thing to put together).  Your daddy and I spent quite a few hours putting the bookcases together.  Toward the end when pieces weren't fitting exactly as expected, mommy broke out the hammer leg move.  It basically entailed mommy kicking the stubborn pieces of shelving together while screaming "Hammer leg!!" in a deep shrilling voice.

You're becoming more and more like mommy every day -- my very own little mini me... Daddy's in trouble.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Dear Isadora,

My, how time flies.  Last year, Halloween didn't mean much to you....

I Think I'm Gonna Sneak Me a Piece...

But this year, you were totally jazzed about Halloween.  This year, mommy made your costume.  I made you a sushi roll t-shirt for you using pieces of felt.  The finishing touch was mommy's ninja headband.  Tada!  Instant sushi chef.  (Mommy dressed up as a loose cannon detective.)  I posted pictures online of you in your costume, mostly to share with family and friends.  Your Aunt Kristie commented on one of your photos and said, "I am envisioning years of halloween costumes as a diana patten production!!"  (She's probably right.)

Sushi chef #halloween

She can make a mean California roll. #halloween

Let's do this! #halloween

Ready for trick-or-treaters

From what I could tell, you loved Halloween.  Every time trick-or-treaters rang our doorbell, you bolted toward the door to greet our visitors.  You were excited to see what costumes they were wearing and to see the crowd of strangely dressed children at the door.  Daddy held you up high so that you could get a good view of all the costumes.  You also cried every time trick-or-treaters got their candy and left -- you wanted them to stay a while.

So.... Izzy cries every time trick-or-treaters leave. Gonna be a loooong night.

You still don't get the concept of candy (which mommy is fine with).  You were, however, obsessed with playing with  the candy bowl, using the lollipops as drumsticks and the boxes of Nerds as rattles.

Candy passes inspection

All in all, I'd say it was a delightful Halloween.  I hope you don't mind -- mommy and daddy may keep your Halloween costumes on course with Japanese themes until you tell us to stop.  Next year, you may be a sumo wrestler... Just sayin'.



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Where Has the Time Gone?

Dear Isadora,

It seems like I blinked and you became a toddler.  You used to let me hold you in my arms and rock you to sleep.  Now, you demand that I put you in your crib and leave you be.  You used to eat anything I put into your mouth.  Now, you have definite opinions about the food you eat (I still don't understand your hatred for potatoes or mac 'n cheese).  You used to let me change your diaper with little or no fuss.  Now, you protest and squirm like I'm punishing you. 

You have become this vibrant little person who acts goofy and laughs and dances.  You're inquisitive and interested in the world.  You no longer eat books; instead, you make mommy and daddy read them to you over and over again, even as much as five times in one sitting.  You try to talk using words now. In fact, you use the following words and phrases on a daily basis:
  • Up (used for both up and down)
  • Elbow (for "Elmo" on Sesame Street)
  • I did
  • Mama
  • Dada
  • Open
  • Oooooooh
I wish I could remember all the things you are doing now... I hope these pictures help to capture how much you are changing and how much you are becoming you.

Dessert after a chili dinner

Keeps knocking down letters saying, "I did."

Sunday art time

Chair bully.... She stole momma's chair.



Oh my gah... She won't stop eating the bubbles.

Growing up...

Slide time

Sometimes you look so grown up.  And sometimes, you look so small in this big, big world.  My cup runneth over.  Love you, baby girl.   



Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Day in the Park

Dear Isadora,

Sometimes the plans you have in life don't always work out the way you plan.  Sometimes it's a bad thing.  Sometimes it's a good thing.  Today, mommy's plans got cancelled.  But it worked out because your mommy decided to take this lemon and make lemonade.

When mommy's plans got cancelled, I looked at your daddy and said, "Let's take Izzy somewhere."  At first, we contemplated taking you to a museum, but then mommy had the brilliant idea of taking you to a park.  And I found the perfect one to take you to - Pullen Park in Raleigh.  It had everything your little heart could want - a train, a carousel, a cafe, a lake, and age-appropriate playgrounds.

After lunch, we packed up your diaper bag and headed out to the park.  It was a beautiful day.  The sun was shining and the weather was perfect.

You enjoyed playing in the sand.  (And in the mulch for that matter.)

Playing in the sand at Pullen Park

You enjoyed swinging with daddy. (Sometimes you would even venture to let go of the swing with your hands in the air.  You're so brave.)

Swinging baby

My two loves at Pullen 

You enjoyed exploring the park's train car. (Daddy held you the whole time so that you would stay safe.)

Checking out the train

And you enjoyed your very first carousel ride.  (The only time you cried was when the carousel slowed down to stop.)

Drive by

We didn't get to ride the train, but we promise to take you to the park again one day soon so that you can.   I have a feeling that Pullen Park is going to become "our" place.

Thank you for a wonderful day.



Saturday, August 4, 2012

One Year Photos

Dear Isadora,

Today, we went to our favorite place, Portrait Innovations, to get your one year photos done.  We've taken you there twice before: once to get your 6 week photos and once to get your 6 month photos.  And just like today, they didn't disappoint.

We brought three outfits for you to change into today: a Japanese yukata, an Okinawan yukata, and one of your new birthday outfits.  You didn't enjoy changing your clothes or having mommy try to do your hair between takes, but you did enjoy all of the attention.  The photographer tried to get shots of you sitting down, but, for the most part, you refused to sit and wanted to stand as much as possible.  (We're starting to see more of this strong will of yours.  I think you get it from daddy, but daddy thinks you get it from mommy.)

Here are some of mommy and daddy's favorite shots from the shoot:
One Year Photos

One Year Photos

One Year Photos

One Year Photos

One Year Photos

One Year Photos

One Year Photos

One Year Photos

One Year Photos

Aren't you a doll?  I think we're due for another family photo with you soon... I think we should all where our yukatas for it!  (Even Daddy!)  What do you think about that?  Yeah, I thought it was a brilliant idea, too.



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's Confirmed..

Dear Izzy,

If you ever had a doubt, here's proof.  You ARE your father's daughter.

Morning routine

Mommy's in trouble.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Splish Splash

Dear Izzy,

Now that you're older, bath times are becoming one of your favorite parts of the day.  An interesting this happened this week.  It was a serendipitous moment - your bottle of baby shampoo accidentally got knocked over one night after one of your nightly baths.  The next day when we prepared your bath, it inadvertently turned into a bubble bath.  It never crossed mommy and daddy's mind that you'd be ready for bubble baths, but you are.  You LOVED it.

Bubble queen

Mommy and daddy enjoyed watching you play with the bubbles and touch them ever so gently and then bash them with your fists.  Seeing the world through your eyes is joy.

Thanks for helping us to see things for the first time, too.



Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy First Birthday, Isadora!

Dear Isadora,

One year ago today, you made mommy and daddy's dream come true.

Isadora Yume

 Now you stand before us, a little person, so vibrant and full of spunk and personality.  It's been quite an amazing year being your mommy and daddy, my sweet baby.

Celebrating Clothesless Sunday

 For your first birthday, we had a small, intimate party of close friends and family.  It was a hot day (over 100 degrees!), but we made due by staying cool inside and enjoying the taco bar that mommy and daddy made for your guests.  It was a packed house, but everyone made themselves at home.  We also set up a swimming pool in the back for all the kids to splash and swim in.  So much was going on, and it was all for you.
Izzy and Lennox

Duck Face Girl

The most precious moment for me during your party was when we sat you in your high chair and gathered around to sing "Happy Birthday" to you.  The singing brought the biggest smile to your face, and you began clapping in joyous approval.  I almost cried...

I love parties... And applause!

After singing, we gave you your first birthday cupcake.  You weren't quite sure what to do with it.  But once you did, you didn't want to let it go!  In fact, you didn't let the cup cake leave your mouth for the longest time.  It was hilarious.

My baby is 1!

Birthday cupcake

Um... What do I do?


Nom nom nom



The day went by so quickly.  At the end of the day, your daddy and I couldn't stop saying, "I can't believe we have a one year old!"  You've been a joy to have in our lives so far, Miss Isadora Yume.  I can't wait to celebrate many more birthdays with you.

In addition to being born, best day 

All of our love,

Mommy and Daddy
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