Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Evie's First Christmas

I've been trying to write this post for a few days, but Evie is keeping things hopping around here, what with the screaming and not napping. So, I'm lumping in some snippets from the past few days along with the promised pictures from Christmas.
  • We just got home from seeing a movie; yes, we left Evie with a babysitter for the first time! The babysitter is one of my former students who lives nearby and has been our trusted dogsitter for a couple of years. She also works in our church nursery. A perfect first babysitter for Evie and she did a great job. We came home to a sleeping baby; what more can we ask?
  • We are having lunch with R & G on Saturday and when I called G yesterday to set it up he mentioned that he and R might be getting married in the next week. Huh? Wow.
  • Evie is now sleeping sans-swaddling, ever since Christmas night. It was very warm in San Antonio and my dad refused to turn on the AC. (Dad, if you're reading this, I love you anyhow.) I couldn't wrap up Evie in her miracle blanket in a bedroom that was almost 80 degrees! She slept through the night without it and hasn't worn it since. She has, however, acquired the nickname "Thumper" due to her new habit of kicking loudly and forcefully at the mattress and sides of her crib/bassinet while staying sound asleep.
  • She is now adept at rolling from her stomach to her back, both directions, while in tummy time. She's also getting more expert at her mini-pushup, which directly contributes to the aforementioned rolling.
  • My parents took me to San Antonio's Riverwalk when I was a baby, and Evie got to visit as a baby on the 26th. It was crowded, but we had fun doing a bit of shopping and sharing a pitcher of margaritas while my nephew, C, watched ducks in the river. While we were there, Evie got to ride in her Baby B*jorn facing out for the first time!
  • Speaking of the warmth in SA over Christmas, a couple of days it was so nice that I took Evie outside and we just sat and enjoyed the breeze as I talked to her about grass, leaves, clouds and cars. It made me eager for springtime with her, in a few months.
  • Evie has now traveled almost the entire length of I-35. The only parts she hasn't been on are the section stretching north from Albert Lea to Duluth and the section stretching south of San Antonio to Mexico.

On to the photos...

J's dad visited us before we left for San Antonio; I love this picture!

Evie's 3 month e-mail from Baby*Center said she would start attaching to comfort objects at this age, so we've started trying to have her snuggle this doll from J's mom. But, my SIDS paranoia keeps me from putting it in her crib. No flash so that I wouldn't wake her:

At the same time J's dad was visiting, Evie also got to meet J's brother and his wife for the first time...Evie's aunt and uncle! Here is C, Evie's beautiful auntie (I didn't just say that because she reads the blog):

We didn't get a picture of J's brother with Evie, but they'll be back through here on their way to Austin before the next semester begins, so we'll capture one this weekend.

On the way to SA, we stopped in Dallas overnight and stayed at the Palomar hotel. J travels so much for business that he gets free hotel stays, so we slept in a two room suite for $0. Here is Evie checking out the couch in the front room (which became her changing table):
And here she is enjoying some tummy time on the luxurious king-sized bed:

Once we arrived in SA, the next day, she was eager for cuddle time with Grandpa:

And was very sleepy on Christmas morning after J fed her at 6 AM:

But eventually she woke up and posed for photos...
Here she is in Christmas pajamas (from Grandma):

Reading a new book with J:

Looking super cute for Christmas dinner in a new outfit from her godparents:

The promised "4 Generations" photo of me, Evie, Great-Grandma and Grandma:

My dad is so tall that the flash didn't reach his face very well, but I love this photo because Evie looks like a caroling angel:

Another photo with Great-Grandma, who was out of practice holding wiggly 3-month-olds:

We had a lot more great pictures, but they aren't on my camera, so I'll update this post with more pictures once my cyber-slacker relatives upload them to Snap*fish (hint, hint). :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cousin Portraits

I'm working on a post about Christmas, but first, here are some portraits we had done at JCP while we were in San Antonio. The little cutie boy is my 18-month-old nephew, C. We tried to get pictures of the two of them together, but, as you can imagine, doing so is difficult! This is the best photo taken during the whole session: Isn't he adorable?!

Here are a series of shots of Evie and C together, none of which are that great:

Here we were telling him to hold her hand:

Something quite interesting was apparently happening off to the right:

And in this one C was smiling at me instead of the camera:

Awwwww...but not worth ordering:

Creepy, no? --- "Give me candy or I will crush this baby's skull!" We were telling him to put his hands on her shoulders or on the back of the chair, I think:
A smile! And somehow her face/head looks completely square:

I love this one, but C's mom and my mom don't like it because you can't see C very well:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Meeting Jessica, John and Colt!

Surprise! Jessica and I plotted to meet up for lunch today, since J and I were driving down I-35 to San Antonio and back for Christmas, and they live along the route. We ate at Apple*bees and chatted about babies, adoption, etc. It was a lot of fun and Colt is even more adorable in person, with his sweet little newborn wrinkles, teeny hands and cuddly tininess. He was perfect through it all, since he'd just eaten, but Evie put on a little show toward the end and I'm sure some of our fellow diners were wishing I would just make her be quiet already. I did get her to sleep so that she's not crying in the picture!

Which one of us looks like a cliche "new mom?" Me in all of my traveling grunginess or Jessica, all put together and looking cute, having just gone to church? That's what I thought.

Thanks, Jessica, John and Colt, for meeting us. It is so fun to turn online friends into real-life friends!

So, we got home tonight at about 9 PM and we're unpacking while Evie is sleeping soundly, back in her crib. Just in time...we were running out of bottles, burp cloths, bibs and Evie's patience.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Grandma's been out supporting the economy.

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tagged: Seven Random Facts

Kischa tagged me for a meme, so here goes:

Seven Random Things about Me
  • I have bad feet: plantar fasciitis, which I supposedly inherited from my aunts, on my dad's side. I used to wear shoe inserts to help with the pain, but then I dicovered Crocs and now almost exclusively wear them. Crocs = no pain. Supposedly, doctors say they aren't good for PF, but then why do my feet feel good? I have twelve pairs of Crocs (different styles, not just different colors of the "Beach" style).

  • I once wrote a 10-page paper for a modern poetry course about poems that describe grasshoppers. Seriously. (the poets were William Carlos Williams and e. e. cummings)

  • One time when I was a baby I really did sleep in a drawer, just like that poor kid on The Simpsons.

  • I didn't change my last name when I married J because he and I have the same last name. No relation, we checked.

  • J and I honeymooned at Hedonism II in Jamaica.

  • Did anyone watch that show called Grease: You're the One that I Want! on NBC last year? Laura Osnes, who won the role of Sandy, is now my cousin-in-law. She married J's cousin right after she won, and we were at the wedding. It was beautiful, but crowded. You know how at weddings you can expect maybe 70% of those invited to actually show up? Well, if you've just won a reality show then 100% show up and there isn't room to dance.

  • I've never broken a bone (knock on wood).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Three Months!

Thanks to Kimberly for my new blog design, Merry Christmas to me!

Yesterday Evie was 3 months old and also 13 weeks old. She went to the doctor in the morning for the last two "2 month" vaccines: Pc and Hib. She cried at the sticks, but not as hard as she did during her 2 month visit. The nurse didn't charge us a copay for this visit, I suppose thinking of it as an extension of her 2 month appointment. Thus, I had to ask for them to weigh her: 13 lbs. and 1.5 oz. I looked it up on a growth chart and she appears to be staying in the 75th percentile for weight. We didn't get a height, and it's hard to measure her ourselves, but she's definitely grown in the past month. She's now outgrown 3 month clothes when in a disposable diaper and her 3-6 month sleepers are starting to get too short for her huge nighttime cloth diaper.

I thought it was hilarious that the nurse gave Evie cute band-aids, since she's too little to care. Anyhow, I wanted to capture the cuteness, so here are her poor little thighs after her appointment: We put Evie back into her "birthday" diaper and took more pictures, and video! If I can manage it, I'm going to try to start "interviewing" Evie in her milestone diaper each month. Wish me luck keeping up with that. The video follows the pictures.

Two weeks old:

One month old:

Two months old:

Three months old!
And a bonus 3 month photo because I love this one!

Finally, the video. It's pretty long, and she really gets going with the "talking" toward the middle and second half, so you may want to skip the first half if you don't have time for 8 minutes of Evie interview. :)

Here is a cute picture of Evie with our friend Becca's daughter, earlier this month. Becca is the photographer who did Evie's newborn portraits. Her daughter is soooo gorgeous, don't you think? Yes, well she was on the cover of Kansas City Parent magazine a couple of months ago. It was in our hospital room when Evie was born! Click here, it's the September 2008 issue.

Here's a picture of Evie that Becca captured while she was over for dinner. Evie is thinking "Crap, Mama let the paparazzi lady in the house, again."

But Becca also managed to capture a smile, which I find very hard to do:

She also captured this adorable picture of "the smile behind the paci." Evie gives these to me all the time, and I love them.

In case anyone is interested in Evie's birthmark, here's what it looks like these days:

It is still small and located in a place where she can hide it easily, in case it takes a few years to disappear. (If you're disoriented, the green is her shirt and the blue is her pants; the pink with hearts is my pajamas, at 2 in the afternoon.) I took this picture while Evie was sleeping in my arms, so here is the face shot of that, with no flash so that I didn't wake her up:If I ever leave a really short comment on your blog, or haven't commented in awhile, it's because this is what my left hand is occupied with. Look at those eyelashes!

I've already written a lot about this month in this post from Dec 8, but here are a some things that I can add from the past couple of weeks:
  • Evie now turns to look at loud noises (a milestone), and generally reacts more strongly to them than she did as a newborn. When she hears a very low, very high, very sharp, very loud or new sound, she gets a concerned look on her face: pursed lips, knit brow, wide eyes. Super cute.

  • She is now adept at rolling to her right side. When on her back, she frequently brings both legs together, lifts them into the air perpendicular to the floor and then lets them drop to the right, bringing her torso with them. Sometimes she will continue to kick and will end up on her back again. Other times she'll start to fuss, "asking" us to right her. Frequently she'll just bring her hands to her mouth and suck them happily, enjoying the new view. Rolling practice makes changing her a bit more of a wrestling match at times; but nothing compared to what it will be in a few months, I'm sure!

  • She's just generally acting much more like a playful baby. Today she was practicing pulling her wubbanub out of her mouth and then trying to put it back in, and tonight as I was changing her she pulled it out and started sucking on the side of the pacifier, instead of the nipple. It is no longer just a pacifier, it is a toy, too. About a week ago I was holding her on my lap and writing an e-mail and noticed that she was staring, hard, at my fingers as they pushed the keys. Not surprising, really, since I type very quickly (80 wpm) and my students used to look over at me when I was typing too, because I can make such a racket when I really get going. Because she was so fascinated, I saved my e-mail and then pulled the keyboard into her lap. She happily banged on it for over five minutes before she got bored. It was adorable, and I'm thinking we should find an old keyboard that she can have as a toy. In a similar vein, yesterday I had her in my lap as J and I were finishing dinner, and I noticed her looking intently at the table cloth. I scooted forward so that she could reach it, and she spent a few minutes stroking, patting and scratching at it (it is blue and white with a snowflake pattern). I love that a tablecloth can entertain her; for J and I, watching her play was entertainment for us!
  • Occasionally she has smiled at her bottle as we are preparing it or carrying it toward her for a feeding. She's not just smiling, she's smiling at the bottle. :)
  • Amazingly, wonderfully, I can (sometimes) calm her with my voice and/or face, without a touch or cuddle. I discovered this last week when J was away on business and I had come back from aerobics desperately needing a shower. I got Evie asleep in a bouncy seat in the bathroom and hopped into the shower. Toward the end, she woke up and began fussing. All I had to do was pop my head around the curtain and coo at her and she quieted down and let me finish shaving my legs. Yay!
  • Before, she only looked at windows at night, when they act as mirrors. Now she will sometimes look out during the day, and seems interested in what she sees.
  • I've tried a few baby games with her, like peek-a-boo and some songs with hand motions; she doesn't smile at them, yet, but they do hold her attention.
  • She likes to listen to music, whether it is the "seasonal" music station on cable, our church band or the singing star in her play gym. I actually found myself on Amazon the other day, looking up customer reviews of musical toys. This was huge for me, because I swore up and down before Evie was born that we wouldn't be one of those families with loud, annoying toys. I told family and friends that we only wanted "quiet, old-fashioned" toys, nothing with sound, lights and batteries. My intentions were good, but I underestimated the importance of the fact that babies like sound, lights, music and things that need batteries. Oh, well. I'm still holding firm on no TV, videos, baby internet sites, baby video games and absolutely no CDs of kiddie songs with high pitched children's voices singing them. Those are so annoying! I know, I know, but kids like them. Ask me two years from now and I'll probably have "Wee Sing Silly Songs" on repeat in my car.
  • Ways to get Evie to smile/giggle: tickle her tummy, blow raspberries on her tummy, cheeks or feet, play with her feet or legs, grab her hands/wrists and lift her torso gently up and down, grab her feet and lift her lower half gently up and down, do big movements with your body in front of her (she smiles as she watches me at baby aerobics and baby yoga), take her to see Rabbit, turn on her singing star, or simply sit facing her at eye level and smile and talk to her.
  • She also really likes it when I kiss her hands, or pretend to eat them, and a few times when I've been holding her in my arms she has thrust her hand(s) toward my face so that I will kiss them. I believe it's the first game she's made up!
  • She does the cutest flirty smile and I will try to capture it on camera or video sometime, but it's very difficult for me to catch these things. Anyhow, she smiles coyly/sweetly/shyly and bring her hands together and into her chest/under her chin. She's practicing for when it comes time to ask Daddy for something important, like a new cell phone.
  • She and I now have a "key and lock" cuddle position that works 90% of the time to get her to sleep. Our bodies have figured out how they fit together most comfortably for her (see above picture). When she's in this position, she likes to reach her left hand up and put it on my chest, since I'm usually wearing a v-neck or scoop-neck pajama top and she can either grab the edge of it or just lay her palm on my skin. It is very sweet, unless she's fussy and I'm trying to soothe her in this cuddle position. Then that left hand is a weapon and she scratches at my chest with her sharp little nails. No wonder we haven't had to cut her nails at all in the past 3 months...she files them on our skin! Ouch. I try to pull my neckline up to protect my chest from the onslaught, but she is persistent and will grab the fabric and pull down and then reach back up to find my skin. It's hard, at those moments, to remember that she's not actually trying to hurt me!
  • Which reminds me, it amazes me how quickly she can go from being happy to being fussy and then back to happy again. She'll seem 100% content and then a dark shadow of a frown will flash onto her face. At that moment, whoever is with her has to do a dance, sing a song, smile and coo, do something to prevent her from breaking down into full-on fuss. It's about 50/50 whether the situation can be rescued. It always makes me ponder what happened that soured her disposition, but I haven't noticed any patterns yet. In the same vein, sometimes she'll wake up from a nap or in the middle of the night and give one or two loud cries or fusses, but by the time we get up from the bed/couch and go into the nursery, she's happily back asleep. Very strange.
  • We've started putting her play gym on "movement" mode sometimes, instead of continuous play, meaning that her singing star will only sing if she pulls on a toy or kicks one of the cross-bars, instead of just playing all 10 songs in a row. She does well with this, as long as we position her so that her feet can reach one of the crossbars. Now I can lay her down there and go into the bathroom to brush my teeth, etc., and if I hear silence for too long I just have to yell "kick, Evie!" and then I'll hear the toys shake and rattle and the star begins singing again. She likes to kick!
  • Tummy time is going well, she is tolerating it longer and longer, and spitting up less in the process. She can do mini push-ups and bring her head to 90 degrees, but doesn't do it often. This is what tummy time looks like, usually:

  • Sometimes she likes to sit with us holding her waist and reach for her feet. We don't do this too often, because 85% of the time it ends with spit-up on her pants, but she is definitely interested in her feet and it's only a matter of time before she's adept at grabbing them, and eventually, putting them in her mouth.
  • Finally, in addition to blowing bubbles she now adds raspberries and motorboat sounds to her conversational repertoire. She seems to enjoy the sensation on her lips, but when we repeat them back to her she just looks astonished and vaguely annoyed at us.
I recently decided to join Stirrup Queens' Barren B****es Book Brigade, and the current book is An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir by Elizabeth McCracken. I loved McCracken's The Giant's House: A Romance, so I was excited to join in. On Thursday, I picked up the book from the library after aerobics and Evie took a 45-minute nap at about 3 pm so that I could take a bath and start reading. It felt so luxurious to take a bath and read a book. These are things that I did almost every day during the summer, but haven't done during the past 3 months, at least not that I can remember. I've always been an avid reader, but mothering took the book lust out of me for a bit. I've read, though, that children rarely become reading enthusiasts unless they see their parents reading for pleasure as they are growing up; reading to them is not enough. So I am going to begin with this book and try to make a point of reading my own books in front of Evie and not just enjoying them when she is asleep. Wish me luck on that. The first day she only tolerated it for five minutes before fussing for my attention. I think that grown-up books are going to end up on her list of "things Mommy is not allowed to touch," along with phones and forks.

Anyhow, on page 20, McCracken writes "like any mother I can't imagine taking the smallest step from the historical path that led me here, to this one, to such a one" ("one" being her baby). Her context for this statement is different from mine, but this quote resonated strongly with me. I know it sounds weirdly Pollyanna, but my infertility is becoming less of an antagonist and more benign in my imagination. It brought me Evie, indirectly, and now I can't imagine not being her mom. As she has grown in the past month, and enjoys making eye contact with us more and more, we can see her unique self emerging. After all, "the eyes are the window to the soul." It is amazing when she fixes a steady gaze on us and then her face assumes a focused stare, a furrowed brow or a broad smile; at those moments I feel as though I can peer into her future and see the little girl, young lady and beautiful woman she will become. The last five years have brought me here, to this baby girl, and my negative HPTs and unsuccessful IUIs no longer feel like "failures."

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I have a t-shirt from that says:

Haikus are easy
But sometimes they don't make sense

Click here to see it. I don't really agree that haikus don't make sense, but I still love the t-shirt; it makes me laugh.

Anyhow, Tiffany over at Poetry and Hums has a writing prompt to create a haiku about something shiny. Here is mine:

Evie is teething
The drool makes her chin shiny
Until I wipe it

OK, that took me less than a minute to write, let me try to do better.

A cranky baby
Then Mommy kisses her toes
Shiny, happy eyes


Forehead shiny, hot
I kick my leg in the air
And Evie giggles

(that was about aerobics, by the way)

OK, these are too cheerful...

Evie loves to eat
Until it's time to burp her
Tears shine on her cheeks

Gross, these have all been about bodily fluids! Last one...

Mirrors are shiny
Hey, there's that other baby!
Evie smiles with joy
ETA: Still unclear what's up with Evie, but yesterday she slept 10.5 hours, took a 4 hour nap in her swing, ate 6 times anyhow (6 feedings x 5 oz. is normal for her) and remained cranky much of the day. I'm thinking growth spurt and teething onset, combined.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Mom Asks Moxie

As I'm typing this morning, snow is falling outside. J decided to work from home today, due to the snow tying up traffic along his commute route, which means that I got to brush my teeth before 9 AM! Yay!

Yesterday was rough. After going to bed late (J at 11, me at 1), Evie woke us up for a 3 AM feeding for the first time in who knows how long. (Yes, I am aware that I have no basis to complain here, I'm just stating facts.) Then she got me up for the day at 6 AM and refused to nap anywhere but in my arms. She's been bad about a newborn she happily napped in her Boppy, but after a few weeks it no longer worked and she would wake up right after we put her in it. Then she seemed to like napping in her moses basket in the family room, but now refuses to stay asleep in there for longer than 5 minutes. For the past few weeks I've had success transitioning her from my arms to her swing for a nap, but in the past 3 days she's rejecting that as well. Argh! I would start putting her in her crib, but that doesn't work because her nursery is the "lightest" room in the house and it wakes her up. The computer room is much darker during the day because it faces west, so she sleeps better in here, if I can figure out a new baby apparatus that she'll tolerate. Any suggestions? She likes sleeping in my chair:

But she's started working on rolling over in the past few days, so this is not a safe option unless I'm right there monitoring her (i.e. no laundry, dishes, taking Phoebe out to poop...)

Yesterday, I repeat, was rough. She refused to be set down anywhere, until I finally got her sleeping in her swing for a few minutes around 10:45 AM. As she slept, I quickly took the opportunity to heat up my lunch and chat with my mom on the phone. Evie woke up to find me doing three things she hates: eating, talking on the phone and NOT HOLDING HER. She started crying hysterically. It had only been two hours since she'd eaten at 9 AM (she's been on a 3 hour schedule pretty happily for the past several weeks), so I tried to comfort her with a diaper change (which she generally loves) and some rocking and singing. Meanwhile I'd hung up with my mom and my lunch was only 1/5 eaten and sat on the counter getting cold. She just kept crying, more and more hysterically, with big gulping sobs and tears streaming down her face. Nothing worked! Her diaper was dry, I was holding her, I tried pacifiers, rocking, bouncing, patting, jiggling...argh! Finally at 11:30 I gave up and decided she must be having a growth spurt and actually be hungry, so I set her down in her swing to wail like a siren while I went into the kitchen to make her bottle. I came back in, picked her up and sat down at the computer to read blogs while I fed her (I know, everyone says I'm supposed to talk to her and sing to her while I feed her, but she has always ignored people who are feeding her, preferring to stare off into space as she sucks). I pulled up Bloglines and noticed that Ask Moxie had a new post up.

Please be patient as I now go off on a tangent...

Evie's had this t-shirt for a few weeks. Moxie has had some big stuff going on in her life and I wanted to support her by buying a couple of things from her store, because I love her blog so much (the other shirt I bought is the "Rock Me" one shown in this post). I've been waiting for the right post to show off her new t-shirt, and this is it.

...tangent is over.

Anyhow, the post yesterday was about teething, something that I thought I didn't need to think about for another couple of months. Boy, was I wrong. As I read the post and the comments that followed (Ask Moxie is one of those blogs where the comments are as good as or better than the original post), I was struck that Evie is experiencing almost every symptom:
  • drooling (past 10 days or so, before that everything that came out of her mouth was white)
  • eating hands (she's been doing this more persistently lately)
  • rash when she poops (and a never-seen-since-hospital 2 poops in a row yesterday)
  • sleep interruption (well, how about sleep pickiness?)
  • eye boogers
  • inconsolable screaming

So, yesterday I quickly washed up all of Evie's teething toys and popped them into the refrigerator. The verdict: likes the Super Soothie, kinda; still prefers her regular Soothies; sorta likes the Sassy Teething Butterfly; maybe likes her water-filled teething ring.; still thinks her hands taste better. On order: RaZberry Teether, Vibrating Teether and Sophie, based on recommendations from Moxie's commenters.

She doesn't have red gums yet, but a few commenters on Moxie's post said their babies had teeth by 4 months, and the pain starts way before teeth appear. BUT other commenters said their babies started showing teething signs at 3 or 4 months and didn't have any teeth until later than average (6 months is average for first tooth). So we could be dealing with this new Evie for months and months and months. Great. Are any of Evie's contemporaries (Declan, Payton, Snippet) showing any of the same symptoms, by any chance? Am I just imagining this? I can attribute everything but the drooling to other causes, if I think about it. OK, let me ask you this, Ashley, Diana and Deanna, when you lift your son high in the air over your head and wiggle him to make him smile (everyone does that, right?*) does he drip drool onto the floor, your hair and onto your face? Evie does, every single time. She's still spitting up, but now it is more watery and soaks through her bibs, getting the neck of her shirt wet. Almost every time I change her shirt now it has a wet neck. And I'm constantly wiping drool off of her chin. She loves that, you can imagine.

*but only in the hour before she eats, because otherwise it would be spit up on the floor, in the hair, etc.

Thanks, Moxie, for helping explain my Rough Monday.

My Shelfari Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog