Friday, January 30, 2009

Evie's Library

My mom asked me if I would list out all of the books that Evie owns thus far, so that she can buy without worrying about duplicates. I decided to make the catalog a blog post that I'll keep updated (I hope) so Grandma can check it whenever she needs to. Hopefully by making comments about some of the books, I'll help out others who are creating libraries for the children in their lives. Please comment about books you think we should add to our library!

ETA: This list was reorganized on 6-20-09; books are no longer listed twice if they fall in more than one category. If an author or publisher has their own category it means we like that author or publisher a lot! :)

Jelly Kitten cloth books:

  • My Dog Book Evie's favorite book as a young infant
  • Peek a Baby Evie's second favorite book as a young infant
  • Dress Up Diggory Dog which made me realize Jelly Kitten is a British brand... Diggory plays football (soccer) and wears wellies

Other cloth books:

  • So Many Friends by Earlyears Evie's third favorite book as a young infant
  • Discovery Farm by Lamaze fun 3D animals to touch
  • Peter Rabbit's ABCs

Classic Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne and Ernest H. Shepard:

  • Pooh's Bedtime Book by Grandma handmade cloth
  • A Two-ish Sort of Day by Grandma handmade cloth
  • 4 Classic Pooh interlocking board books by Seafarer Books
  • Pooh's Bedtime Book hardback
  • The Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh hardback

Sandra Boynton

  • A to Z
  • Barnyard Dance! This might be the best written board book I've ever seen, so much fun to read!
  • Belly Button Book love it
  • Blue Hat, Green Hat
  • But Not the Hippopotamus
  • Doggies hilarious and fun to do sound effects
  • Dog Train this comes with a CD of music by artists like Alison Krauss and Blues Traveler, and it's not a board book
  • Fifteen Animals!
  • Going to Bed Book, The we almost always read this at bedtime, it's great
  • Hippos Go Berserk! J and I love this one
  • Horns to Toes and in Between
  • Let's Dance, Little Pookie
  • Moo, Baa, La La La! this is probably Boynton's most popular, but not our favorite
  • Moo Cow Book a cloth book, very cute and interactive :)
  • My Piggy Book
  • Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs!
  • One, Two, Three!
  • Opposites
  • Pajama Time! very cute
  • Rhinoceros Tap
  • Snuggle Puppy! Evie, Mommy and Daddy all LOVE this one

Margaret Wise Brown Books:

MWB board books:

  • The Big Red Barn I LOVE this one; Evie likes it OK
  • Bumble Bee
  • Bunny's Noisy Book This book is too cute for words. The illustrations are so sweet and Evie loves how noisy it is! ;-D
  • A Child's Good Night Book
  • The Diggers
  • Goodnight Moon Evie's favorite book currently
  • The Runaway Bunny SO sweet. My favorite illustrations are of the bird/tree and wind/boat
  • MWB hardback and paperback books:

    • A Child is Born
    • The Country Noisy Book
    • Friendly Tales
    • The Golden Bunny
    • The Little Island
    • Love Songs of the Little Bear
    • Mouse of my Heart
    • My World of Color
    • Nibble Nibble
    • Wait Till the Moon is Full
    • Sneakers, the Seaside Cat
    • Where Have You Been?
    • The Wonderful House
    • Wonderful Storybook
    • Young Kangaroo

    MWB Little Golden Books:

    • The Color Kittens
    • The Golden Egg Book
    • Home for a Bunny
    • Mister Dog
    • Pussy Willow
    • The Sailor Dog
    • Things I Like
    • The Whispering Rabbit

    Other Little Golden Books:

    • Little Golden Picture Dictionary by Marie DeJohn
    • The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey and Gustaf Tenggren
    • The Happy Man and His Dump Truck by Miryam and Tibor Gergely

    Child's Play Board Books (all of these have cut outs and are fun to sing with):

  • Clap Your Hands illustrated by Kay Widdowson
  • Old Macdonald Had a Farm
  • Over in the Meadow
  • This Old Man (this one is paperback)
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
  • The Wheels on the Bus
  • Eric Carle books:

    EC board books:

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
  • From Head to Toe
  • Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?
  • Today is Monday
  • EC hardback books:

    • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
    • Eric Carle's ABC
    • The Mixed-Up Chameleon
    • The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    Dr. Seuss books:

    Dr. Seuss board books:

    • Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? I love this one because it's fun to read as the parent
    • There's a Wocket in my Pocket

    Dr. Seuss hardback books:

    • The Cat in the Hat
    • Oh, the Places You'll Go!

    Other Board Books:

    • ABC by Playmore Inc.
    • animals by priddy books
    • At the Zoo by Sesame Beginnings
    • Baby Faces by Margaret Miller
    • The Bear Went Over the Mountain by Rosemary Wells
    • Busy Bear Celebrates Christmas by Hartmut Bieber
    • Cats and Kittens by Paradise Press
    • colors by priddy books
    • Colors by Little Scholastic
    • Curious George and the Bunny by Margaret E. and H. A. Rey
    • Cute as can Bee (made in Snap*fish) this features Evie as the star of the book but she doesn't seem to like it yet
    • Dinnertime by Claire Henley
    • Eyes & Nose, Fingers & Toes by Sesame Beginnings
    • Fall by Chris L. Demarest
    • first words by priddy books
    • God Made You Special! VeggieTales book (a gift from Uncle D and Aunt A and Cousin C)
    • Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram this is one of J's favorites to read at bedtime
    • Hop! Peter Rabbit by Frederick Warne (based on Beatrix Potter)
    • How Do I Love You? by Marion Dane Bauer, Illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church
    • How Many Kisses do You Want Tonight?
    • Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus and Jose Aruego
    • A Lighthouse Saves the Day by Robert Lieber and Aleks Petrovitch
    • My chunky friend 4 book set illustrated by Sheryl Bone
    • Nursery Rhymes, illustrated by Susie Lacome
    • Olivia by Ian Falconer
    • Olivia's Opposites by Ian Falconer
    • Ollie by Olivier Dunrea
    • On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier I love this book! It makes me weepy.
    • Pat-A-Cake by Tony Kenyon
    • Peter Rabbit based on Beatrix Potter's story
    • Picture Me as Mom's Little Helper illustrated by Wendy Rasmussen
    • Playtime Peekaboo! by DK Publishing
    • Pretty Little Piggy by Playmore Inc
    • Splash! by Roberta Grobel Intrater
    • The Real Mother Goose illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright
    • Tiger in the Jungle by David Crossley
    • Where is Baby's Valentine? by Karen Katz
    • Zoophabet ABC by Cathy Heck
    Plastic (bath) books:

    • Elmo's Wash and Dry This is a hand-me-down from a friend and a fun book because it has magic colors that appear when touched by warm water during a bath. The plot is about Elmo having to give up his blankie so that it can get a bath in the washing machine.
    • One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss

    Christian Books:

    • The Animals' First Christmas by Gaby Goldsack and Linda Clearwater
    • Baby's First Bible by Reader's Digest Children's Books
    • The Beginner's Bible for Toddlers by Word Kids!
    • Bible Stories of Boys and Girls by Jane Werner
    • A Book of God's Gifts by Ruth Hannon and Rick Schreter
    • A Christmas ABC by Alice Gold and Linda Clearwater
    • David by Playmore pop-up book
    • Dear God... by Sophie Allsopp
    • Give Me Grace by Cynthia Rylant
    • God Bless by Brimax this one is SO NOT PC "God Bless Mother, who looks after us / All day and night time too."
    • God Made by Brimax
    • Great Bible Stories for Children by R. Lane Easterly, illustrated by Carlo Tora and Alvaro Mairani
    • Hermie: A Common Caterpillar by Max Lucado
    • Just in Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado
    • The Little Golden Book of Hymns by Elsa Jane Werner and E.D. Ebsun, and Frances Score Mitchell
    • My First Book of Prayers illustrated by Stephanie McFetridge Britt
    • My Little Golden Book About God by Jane Werner Watson and Eloise Wilkin
    • Noah's Ark by Barbara Shook Hazen and Diane Muldrow, illutrated by Mircea Catusanu
    • Small Hands Bible (NKJV) a gift from birth-great-grandmother V
    • A Stable in Bethlehem: A Christmas Counting Story by Joy N. Hulme, Illustrated by J. Ellen Dolce
    • Thank You God by Brimax

    Bedtime Books:

    • Good Morning, Good Night! Illustrated by Melanie Mitchell
    • Good Night, Sleep Tight by Simon Ludvigsen Gaines, illustrated by Maggi List
    • I Love You, Sleepyhead by Claire Freedman, illustrated by Simon Mendez

    Activity Books:

    • Bathtime Peekaboo! by DK
    • First Words by Publications International this is a write-on, wipe-off book for when she's older
    • My First Book of Songs & Rhymes by Trace Moroney (a gift from her birth family)
    • My Pets by Igloo Books, illustrated by Kait Eaton
    • Noah's Ark and block set by Golden Books
    • On the Farm by Igloo Books, illustrated by Kait Eaton
    • The Original Pop-up Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
    • Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
    • Silly Book of Shapes, The by Todd Parr
    • Spring Surprise! Illustrated by Rory Tyger this is a lift the flap book about Easter bunnies and eggs

    Interactive Books:

    • Barnyard Mystery by Pat Relf and Louise Hanavan touch 'n' listen Little Golden Book
    • Songs that Go by Fisher Price

    Adoption Books:

    • Adoption is for Always by Linda Walvoord Girard and Judith Friedman
    • A Blessing from Above by Patti Henderson the message about adoption is sketchy (the mama bird doesn't have room in her nest) but the emotions of the kangaroo are sweet
    • The Day We Met You by Phoebe Koehler the text is geared toward the board book ages but it is paperback...I'm afraid Evie will rip it up
    • How I Was Adopted by Joanna Cole and Maxie Chambliss
    • Rosie's Family: An adoption story by Lori Rosove, pictures by Heather Burrill more for a transracial adoption, we bought it for Lucy, but will still be good for Evie
    • Tell Me a Real Adoption Story by Betty Jean Lifton, illustrated by Claire A. Nivola

    Shel Silverstein

    • Falling Up by Shel Silverstein
    • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

    Other Hardback and Paperback

    • Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse by Leo Lionni
    • Babar Learns to Cook by Laurent de Brunhoff
    • Babar Loses His Crown by Laurent de Brunhoff
    • Baby Beluga (Raffi Songs to Read) Illustrated by Ashley Wolff
    • The Berenstains' B Book by Stanley and Janice Berenstain
    • Book of Poems by Syndy Szekeres (A Golden Book)
    • Cat, You Better Come Home by Garrison Keillor (a gift from Deanna)
    • A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
    • Curious George Goes to the Hospital
    • The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter
    • Down By the Bay (Raffi Songs to Read) Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
    • An Edward Lear Alphabet illustrated by Carol Newsom
    • Faithful Elephants: A True Story of Animals, People and War by Yukio Tsuchiya
    • Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks and Richard Egielski
    • How Many Feet in The Bed? by Diane Johnston Hamm and Kate Salley Palmer
    • King Bidgood's in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood and Illustrated by Don Wood
    • Little Polar Bear, Take Me Home! by Hans de Beer
    • The Magic School Bus: At the Waterworks by Joanna Cole, Illustrated by Bruce Degen
    • Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
    • Meet Babar and his Family by Laurent de Brunhoff
    • The Month-Brothers: A Slavic Tale by Samuel Marshak, illustrated by Diane Stanley
    • Mother Goose illustrated by Aurelius Battaglia
    • Old Turtle by Douglas Wood, illustrated by Cheng-Khee Chee
    • The Pink Party by Maryann Macdonald and Abby Carter
    • Paddington Bear by Michael Bond
    • Puff the Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton, illustrated by Eric Puybaret
    • Richard Scarry's Best Friend Ever
    • The Real Mother Goose, illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright
    • Shake My Sillies Out (Raffi Songs to Read) Illustrated by David Allender
    • A Treasury of Best-Loved Children's Poetry illustrated by Robin Lawrie
    • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (this is a paperback that belonged to my brother originally)
    • Winter Days in the Big Woods (My First Little House Books) adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Renee Graef

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    Four Months: Part Two

    Sorry if this takes forever to load. I went a bit nutsy with the pictures in this post. Here is Evie's outfit for going to see the doctor this morning. I've been putting her in hairbows a lot in the past week or so, much to Evie's chagrin. I have no idea why I'm all of a sudden a fan of bows. It must be hormonal.

    At Evie's doctor appointment this morning she weighed 14 lbs., 14 oz. (holding steady in the 75th percentile) and measured 24.5" long (holding steady in the 50th percentile). Her head circumference is 16.25" which is down to 75th percentile, compared with her 95th percentile measurement at 2 months. The doctor wasn't concerned about her head growth and guessed that the nurse may have measured incorrectly at 2 months.

    In terms of milestones (where you circle things on the chart...someone help me out, what is the chart called? I tried googling it and can't come up with the name), Evie is meeting most of the 6 month milestones but none of the 7 month milestones. The first milestone I didn't circle was the head lag one because her head still lags a bit when we pull her up to sitting. The pediatrician tried it out on her in the office and after a second Evie brought her head up in line with her spine, so she is getting there. She has a big, heavy head! :)

    Evie's pediatrician again pronounced her "perfect:" no problems with head shape, eyes, ears, heart, belly, etc. Her birth mark is growing normally, her hair is growing in and she is developing as expected. She received the DTaP and Rotavirus vaccines today and will go back at 5 months for Pc, Hib and Polio. The pediatrician again tried to convince me to just do them all today; her argument was that bringing Evie back into the office at 5 months unnecessarily exposes her to germs from sick babies who are there at the same time. I understand her point but we are still going to follow Dr. S*ears' schedule because it makes sense to me in terms of not overloading her little body with so much aluminum and so many different vaccines all at once. Evie was a trooper and only cried for a minute or so after the stick. She didn't enjoy the rotavirus vaccine like she did at 2 months, and fussed about it, but calmed down quickly afterward. She was fussy for ten minutes after the appointment was all over, but then settled down for a long nap in her car seat and swing.

    I talked to the pediatrician about Evie's medicine (baby Z*antac) and the fact that it's changed nothing. At first the doc was making noises about increasing the dose, but I rebutted her idea with the argument that if a larger dose was what Evie needed, wouldn't we have seen an incremental improvement with the current dose? So, we're stopping the medicine and assuming the change in her spitting up recently (seems to bother her more, make her cough and gag, etc.) is due to teething and drool rather than reflux.

    This past month, Evie's fourth month, has been all about making a liar out of Mommy. I read back to my one, two and three month updates and found that Evie has, as everyone told me she would, changed completely. Here are a few choice examples and I have a few more listed at the bottom of the post.

    She no longer likes So*othie she likes N*uks.

    Our "key and lock" cuddle position with her head in the crook of my elbow and her tummy to my tummy...doesn't work anymore. Now she prefers to fall asleep on my shoulder.

    Or on chests (again):

    Or to the sound of grandma's LOUD dishwasher cycle:

    Or just in physical proximity to Mama:

    Remember how adamant I was about NO TV for Evie? It is getting more and more challenging to keep her from it. Especially on Tuesday when the TV was on all day for the inauguration. Evie showed remarkable interest in Obama's inaugural address. The first half of the address she watched attentively from Grandma's arms. The second half she watched, equally attentive, in tummy time. Obama has such powerful, soothing, magnetic rhetorical skills that Evie could not resist. However, she did poop while Biden was sworn in and fussed as Obama was sworn in, so she's not a fan of Justice Roberts. Later in the week she showed the first signs of being a San Antonio S*purs fan by constantly craning her neck, trying to see the screen and follow the action. Whenever we're in restaurants with TVs on the walls, she watches with fascination, especially sports. And she loves O*prah. Sigh. I thought I could fold laundry and watch. Sure! I could just put her bouncy seat in the other direction so that she would play instead of watching. But the pull of O*prah's sonorous voice was too strong for Mommy's tricks:

    This has been a month of vocalizing...most recently, shrieking:

    She did her screech-bird routine for the doctor this morning and she said "my, my, aren't we loud?" Yes. We are loud. We get lots of attention in public these days!

    This month has been a month of kicking, thumping, rolling and grabbing feet:

    It has been a month to explore the world; flirt with strangers; look out windows; lunge for objects; reach for the dogs; scratch, pat and inspect fabrics; squeeze, hit, wave around and drop toys; generally look at everything new and different (read: NOT look at Mom and Dad):
    It was a month of spending time with Grandma and Grandpa in San Antonio for two different trips, at Christmas and in mid-January:
    The warm Texas weather prompted Evie's first pair of sunglasses (they are for ages 3 and up but she was supervised):

    This picture is from January? This may be the only time she ever wears these shorts:

    Evie had a great time playing on Grandma and Grandpa's floor. It is carpeted, clean, free of dogs and warm enough to lounge in a onesie or just a diaper:

    Evie loves to play airplane and peek-a-boo and have raspberries blown on her skin:

    She does push-ups in tummy time and reaches for objects:

    She still spends a lot of time sucking and chewing on her hands, and has a new habit of grinding her gums together, making her jaw click (very disturbing to feel if you are holding her by the chest and have your thumb near her neck). Her drooling is out of control and we change just as many wet bibs as we do spit-up bibs. No signs of teeth yet, but they are on their way:

    This month Evie spent WAY too much time in her car seat as we drove to and from San Antonio twice. Her car rules are 1. I will ride in the morning and sleep nicely but 2. I will not ride quietly in the afternoon, so you'd better bring earplugs or just give up and find a hotel. 3. When I want to eat I WANT TO EAT AND YOU'D BETTER PULL OFF ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD IN NOWHERE OKLAHOMA AND FEED ME NOW. (We had a handful of kind Oklahomans pull next to us and offer help, but unless they had some extra burp cloths we didn't need anything but a place to park for a change and feed.) and 4. If you get an early start I will be a pleasant traveling companion for up to 6 hours but no longer. Did you hear me? NO LONGER.
    The toy in the bottom left of the above picture is S*ophie the giraffe that I mentioned in a previous post about teething. I was skeptical at first that we needed a $16 rubber teething toy, made in France, but I am now a true believer. Evie adores S*ophie and that giraffe saved our skins more than once during fussy spells in restaurants and stores.

    Evie has also regressed in terms of eating habits. When she was tiny she always ended up with formula all over her chin during feedings, but that went away quickly and she became a neat eater. No longer. Now (teething, again?) she lives to chew on and play with the bottle and nipple as she eats (except when she's sleepy and then she's still all business). Here is a shot of Lil' Miss Milky Chin during an in-car feeding on our trip home this weekend (we're parked; J is not driving with her in his lap a la Ms. S*pears):

    Let's see, what else am I missing?

    • No cloth diapering update right now, I'm going to do a separate post about it
    • This was the month of 3-6 month clothes and now that she's in her fifth month she is transitioning through 6 month clothes and into 6-9 month clothes (again, due to the fluffy cloth behind taking up extra room)
    • She eats 6 oz. of formula at a time and 5 or 6 feedings per day
    • Right before turning 4 months old she grew out of her sleep regression and started napping again, but we'll see what happens when I start trying to put her in her crib for naps again this week.
    • Corresponding to the increased napping, she's stopped sleeping through the night. We were blaming this on the unfamiliar environment at Grandma and Grandpa's house and now the transition back to the home environment, but if she keeps it up we'll just have to declare a new phase. I'm fine with it because we got off so easy when she was little and started sleeping through the night consistently at 2 months. I knew there would be a catch. :) While we were in Texas I couldn't get her back to sleep in the P*ack 'N' P*lay in the middle of the night, so we felling into a routine where she slept the first half of the night alone and the second half in bed with me. J wasn't staying with us; he was sleeping in the hotel where his conference was. I loved the co-sleeping and waking up to her coos and kicks. She always looked so happy to see that I was right there next to her.
    • She's stopped sleeping when I wear her, unless I'm in constant motion and don't bend over (i.e. no unloading the dishwasher, using the bathroom or checking e-mail).
    • She is no longer fascinated by the singing star in her play gym. She'll still watch it and smile at it occasionally, but it is no longer a sure thing to keep her entertained.
    • She's showing less interest in Rabbit during diaper changes and instead likes to look at/talk to me, grab her feet, kick the diaper cream into the diaper pail, suck her hands and, many times, fuss and cry because the diaper is the last obstacle in the way of getting her bottle.
    • Speaking of her bottle, she will now reach out for it and try to hold it herself. If she's hungry and she sees a bottle next to the sink, it makes her cry. After she's finished eating she likes to sit and look at the empty bottle. I can imagine what nursing mothers mean when they say they feel like a cow at this stage. I'm sure she would be the same way with my bo*obs and it would annoy me.
    • She's started to get bored with toys that she's used to, but at the same time she tends to cry the first couple of times we introduce something new, especially something new that makes noise. After a few tries and some encouragement, however, she ends up loving the new things. She is training me to be a persistent Mommy...please help me remember this lesson when I start feeding her solids and she rejects broccoli five times in a row.
    • She is now a light sleeper. As a newborn, the dogs barking, phone ringing, Mommy typing, music playing...none of it woke her up. Now I find myself tiptoeing around the house while she's sleeping, making sure not to wake her. Yet again she turns me into a liar. I used to say that I wouldn't do the tiptoe routine because I wanted to train her to sleep through normal household noises. Now I realize that when you're a mom, it's more important that she take a good nap on this particular day so that you can eat lunch and less important that she be a heavy sleeper in the distant future. Anyhow, J dispelled this idea by telling me that he was a heavy sleeper as a baby and a kid even though he's now a light sleeper. Yet another thing I don't have control over. Sigh.

    Overall, I just love being Evie's mom. She gives me warm fuzzies every day when she greets me with a smile in the morning, watches me as I enter and exit rooms (and cries for me to come back), inspects my clothing with fascination, reaches out to touch my face, turns to look at me when I speak, scoots closer to me and reaches out to touch me when we co-sleep, laughs when I laugh (as if she's in on the joke), holds on to my fingers when I'm feeding her and grabs the neck of my shirt when I'm carrying her. We are what you'd call securely attached.

    The full weight of the responsibility of being Evie's mother is starting to hit me this month. She watches me all the time. I am the most significant influence on her physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual development right now. I knew this intellectually before, but now I'm starting to believe it and it freaks me out. Each of my flaws is magnified when I see them through her eyes. Paraphrasing Jack N*icholson: Evie Bea, you make me want to be a better woman.

    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Tummy Time

    Just for fun, pictures of Evie in Tummy Time at different ages. I was thinking last week about how much she used to hate it vs. how much she seems to like it (in limited quantities) now.

    One week old:

    One month old:

    Two months old:
    Three months old:
    Four months old:

    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    Seventeen Things

    I've been tagged for two memes. The first is from Third Time's a Charm: 10 honest things about myself. The second is from Safire and is 7 random things about myself. So, here are 17 things! I'll try to keep them short.

    Honest Things: This one stumped me at first...I try to be honest in my blog all the are these supposed to be secrets or negative things or embarrassing moments? I'm going to write a smattering of different types of honesty, all of which are things that I would not normally write about.

    1. Embarrassing: One of my bad habits is cracking my knuckles. I've done it for years.
    2. Embarrassing: I am ashamed to admit that I like to watch the show "The Girls Next Door" about Hugh Hefner's girlfriends. It is one of the trashiest shows I've ever seen and I get a kick out of it.
    3. Bragging: I was co-valedictorian of my high school class. "Co" because there were 10 of us who all had GPAs over 4.0 and they just made us all valedictorians instead of choosing the one with the highest. They refused to tell us who was at the top, but the rumor was that it was me.
    4. Bragging: I was labeled in elementary school as "gifted and talented" and was in special classes and a special school in third grade (it's a long story why it was only that year...)
    5. Stupid: I once climbed over a spiked fence in London's Regents Park after being explicitly warned not to do so because one student had his leg impaled on a spike trying to do the same thing. I was in London studying one summer during college and came back late after the park entrance nearest the tube station had closed for the night. I ripped my jeans and I'm still mad at myself for being such an idiot.
    6. Stupid: I like to drive bright (yellow, red) sporty cars. AND I like to drive over the speed limit. I've only gotten four speeding tickets in my life, but I've had a couple of warnings, too. Don't worry, I have shaped up since Evie was born.
    7. Proud: My dad and brother are both in the military. My dad is a doctor (flight surgeon) and a colonel in the Air Force (he's serving past his 20 years for a variety of reasons) and my brother is a fighter pilot for the Navy. He flies the Super Hornet and has been asked to go to Top Gun in the next year or so. Yes, Top Gun is real.
    8. Proud: J is an award-winning home beer and wine maker and certified beer judge. Come visit us, we have kegs and a wine cellar waiting to welcome you. :)
    9. Confession: I have Young's Syndrome. The infertility aspect of the syndrome only applies to men, so it is not the reason for my infertility. When people ask me about my symptoms (chest and sinus congestion) I usually just tell them it's allergies, because I do have allergies.
    10. Confession: I am doing terribly with my New Year's resolutions. I haven't worked out at all this month and my diet is...wait, I was on a diet? Evie's morning nap is being used for reading blogs, not Bible study. But I am reading one of my TBR books! Yay for me. Woo.

    Random Things:

    1. I used to be a cat person but now I'm a dog person (J is allergic to cats).
    2. I hate Disney Princess crap.
    3. I lived in New Orleans in 8th grade.
    4. I used to be addicted to playing The Sims.
    5. I had 5 wisdom teeth before they were removed.
    6. I have a nervous habit of vibrating my leg(s) while seated (comes from too much caffeine?) ...this habit has come in handy with Evie when she's cranky.
    7. My mom and dad met at U.Va. and so did J and I. My dad was from Minnesota and so is J. My parents married before their fourth year of college. So did I (J was older).

    If anyone would like to participate in one of these memes, consider yourself tagged!

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    Book Brigade Discussion: McCracken

    I decided to join the Barren Bi**hes Book Brigade for the first time because of the selection for this tour: An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken. A friend gave me McCracken's The Giant's House last year and I loved it (thanks Holly!); I'm always excited to read more work from an author I admire.

    Exact Replica is one of those books you hesitate to say you "enjoyed," because of the subject matter. It is a memoir of McCracken's loss of her first son to stillbirth. But I did enjoy it; it is absorbing and eloquently written.

    My experience reading McCracken's memoir after enjoying her novel is similar to my experience reading Ann Patchett's novel Bel Canto and then her memoir Truth & Beauty (and I'm pretty sure Patchett and McCracken are friends, coincidentally). Because I loved both novels, I found myself reading the memoirs as if they described the experiences of people I knew, which made them even more intense. In the end, my reaction to Exact Replica is summed up best by a quote from Alice Sebold on the back cover: "By the end of this memoir you will have held a beautiful child in your hands and you will have acknowledged him." That is why the author wrote the book, so that Pudding will be remembered, and I am honored to be one of the people who will do so.

    Here are my responses to three of the discussion questions posed by other members of the Brigade:

    Question #8: On page 13, McCracken writes, "I want a book that acknowledges that life goes on, but that death goes on, too, that a person who is dead is a long, long story. You move on from it, but the death will never disappear from view. Your friends may say, Time heals all wounds. No, it doesn't, but eventually you'll feel better. You'll be yourself again. Your child will still be dead." Do you agree with the idea that those that have died continue on? Have you ever found that Time could actually change your perception of death? If you haven't experienced the death of a child (or even if you have), how might this translate into other areas of your life? (i.e. infertility, adoption, loss of other family members, etc).

    I haven't experienced the death of a child, but this idea makes me think of my feelings about Lucy, our failed adoption. I've had several people either subtly or overtly encourage me to just move on and forget about what happened with Lucy in July. The implication, or at least my interpretation of it, is that remembering Lucy isn't normal and appropriate; that I am clinging to my sad story because I'm a drama queen or because I want other people to feel sorry for me. Particularly because we heard about Evie so quickly after losing Lucy, many people close to us seemed to feel relieved that they could stop consoling us and just be happy for us again. And to an extent our wounds were healed; we moved on with our lives, planned for Evie and now we are parenting her. Because consoling someone who is grieving is difficult and uncomfortable, people don't mention Lucy to us anymore and seem a bit shocked if we bring her up in casual conversation (e.g. "we shampoo Evie's hair like that because it's how Lucy's nurse taught us to do it"). People wonder, I suppose, why we would want to keep our loss alive by remembering it and talking about it.

    But for J and I, because of the days we spent with Lucy in the hospital, it is impossible to simply forget that time in our lives and pretend that it doesn't still sting when we think about it. So much of our spring and summer revolved around Lucy! I will never be able to think back on that time in my life without acknowledging that her loss is a part of our lives. However distant in the past it becomes, it will never disappear from view.

    One example of this has to do with something silly: our wipes warmer. When we left for the hospital, as M was in labor, I had every single thing ready to bring Lucy home. The only thing that wasn't ready was the wipes warmer. I didn't want to plug it in and have it waste electricity while we were at the hospital. I made a mental note: remember to plug in the wipes warmer when we bring her home! The morning we lost her, we stopped by our house to change clothes quickly before we headed downtown to meet our lawyer (and, it turns out, to hear the fateful news that the adoption was over). As we were rushing around the house that morning, I remembered to plug in the wipes warmer so that Lucy could have a cozy first diaper change in her new house. When we got home later that morning, devastated, and began dismantling the Pack 'N' Play and uninstalling the car seat, I was still numb. I had cried in the car on the way home, but the reality of what had just happened didn't really hit me until I found myself unplugging the wipes warmer. Such a simple, silly thing. To me it represented the idea of a real, live baby in our house, in our nursery. Unplugging it meant facing our lack of such a baby. I still think of that day sometimes when I am refilling the wipes warmer that keeps Evie's bum cozy and fresh. There are several things like this in our lives: losing Lucy is a long, long story.

    Finally, I think that by referring to her as Lucy in my blog (since her parents changed her name) I am acknowledging that loss goes on. When we called her Clio, we were happy with anticipation. Now that she is Teresa, she is living happily with her parents. Lucy doesn't exist anymore, but she did exist for four days. In those days we loved her and parented her and lost her.

    Question #10: McCracken views "A Figment" as her "calling card" -- the card that says, My first child was stillborn. "I want people to know about it but I don't want to say it out loud." She'll (figuratively) hand it to everyone who asks a stupid or just hard-to-answer question ("Is this your first?"), and everyone she generally just wants to know about her back story without the awkwardness of waiting for the segue and going through it. We obviously all blog -- do you view your blog as your calling card (do you have a calling card)? If you wrote a memoir, would it differ from your blog in any significant way? Do you think it would attract a different audience and would that change what you wrote?

    I've tried a few times to use my blog as a calling card in real life. I've had people ask me about our history and I've said "here's a summary....blah, blah, blah...and if you want to know the details I have a blog..." The people I've mentioned this to rarely become readers, for whatever reason. I suppose it is because they either "aren't online people" or decide that because they know me in real life they'll just keep up with me that way and don't need to read. That makes sense to me. But I've been hurt by doing this, too. I have a few long-distance friends whom I've told about the blog and then subsequently found out they not only don't read it but never even checked it out once. That hurt my feelings. I mean, come on. I know I write a lot and I wouldn't expect people with busy schedules to be able to find time to read everything, but I can't imagine having a friend share his or her blog address with me and never checking it out at all. So that's "real life;" online, my blog is definitely my calling card. I have a link to it in the sig lines of my posts on sites like Diaper*swappers and find that I rarely have anyone either inside the ALI (adoption/loss/infertility) community or outside it say anything strange or offensive. My older posts about infertility, waiting, Lucy, etc., still get hits every month, so they are speaking for me.

    If I wrote a memoir, I think that I would it would be very different from my blog. A memoir, although non-fiction, still must tell a story effectively. My blog is currently part story, part journal (e.g. this month Evie did...), part advice column (pleas for help from you all and my posts about adoption in general), part self-help writing therapy, part miscellany about my reading and crafts and such, part creative outlet and part tool to keep in touch with people. I do not plan to write a memoir, but if I did, it would focus on just the story of our marriage, infertility and adoption. I don't think such a memoir would have a very different audience; whether online or in a bookstore, I imagine the people who want to read ALI memoirs are other people who have experienced similar heartaches while trying to build their families.

    Question #12: Early in the book Elizabeth talks about her second son as definitively not a "Miracle Baby" and of leaving behind her belief in luck and minor superstitions. How have your ideas of luck, prayer, miracles and superstitions changed as a result of your experiences of infertility and/or child loss? If your ideas changed, how militant are you about your new views? Do you see the changes as casualties, another thing(s) lost? Or do you perceive them as perspective gained, part of the evolving you?

    I've never been superstitious or believed in luck, but my experiences with infertility and adoption have changed my perspective on prayer. I went through a period during our days of infertility treatment where I lost hope and felt like Shakespeare in the first few lines of Sonnet 29:

    "When, in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes,
    I all alone beweep my outcast state,
    And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
    And look upon myself and curse my fate,
    Wishing me like to one more rich in hope..."

    For a long time, I felt that God wasn't hearing my prayers, that He was angry at me for some reason, that He was mean. I'd had bad things in my life before then, but I'd always harbored the belief that if I prayed hard enough about something that God would fix it for me--I just had never prayed hard and long enough about other things. Well, I prayed so hard and long during my infertility treatments that I eventually had to either abandon my faith or realize that prayer isn't a way to control God and make Him do what we want, it is a way to communicate with Him. Sounds obvious, I know, but I had a hard time accepting it, and I still struggle with feelings of powerlessness, resignation and cynicism when I say prayers of petition.

    Sadly, I'm not joining in the next BBBB tour (Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go). Not because I'm not interested in the book. In fact, Mel described it in such provocative fashion that I had a hard time making the decision. The problem is that I am half of the way through my first TBR Challenge book (The Shadow of the Wind) and I'm loving it. I just can't put it down to read Ishiguro right now. But, Never Let Me Go will at least make it onto my 2010 TBR list! I would encourage anyone in the ALI community to head over to Stirrup Queens and sign up, if you have time to read a novel at this point in your life. Ishiguro's book sounds like a great page-turner.

    ETA: sorry I forgot to do this part:

    Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at Stirrup Queens ( You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

    Monday, January 19, 2009

    Four Months

    Evie is four months old today! I'm going to make this brief because I'm working on a post for The Barren Bi**hes Book Brigade. Here are pictures from today's birthday diaper photo shoot and here is the link to see pictures in the same diaper from previous months. I shot a cute "interview" today and it is at the bottom of the post. I'll write more about the month in review when I have time, and post it along with an update from the pediatrician next Tuesday. Her bathroom scale weight this morning is 14 pounds! The best part about today? Evie's risk of SIDS just dropped, statistically speaking.

    Finally, the video. Turn down the sound on your speakers first because she is being a screech-bird in this! It was fun to have Evie in the room as we uploaded this; she stared at the screen with delight: finally there is someone who speaks her language.

    Sunday, January 18, 2009

    I'm still alive

    It's only been a few days since I posted, but I think it's the longest I've gone between posts since before Evie was born. It has been a challenging few days and I've been busy and exhausted:
    • packing up our stuff and Evie's gear for a week-long trip

    • prepping the house for J's parents to stay for the week (watching the dogs--thanks!!!)

    • our second two-day drive to see my parents in Texas (J has a conference in SA this week and Evie and I are tagging along)--Evie does NOT travel well as a four-month-old. If she had screamed as much when we went for Christmas, we wouldn't have tried to come with J on this trip (especially when a snow storm hit on the morning we left)

    • Evie teething and still not napping

    Add limited internet access to the get the picture.

    Anyhow, I brought Evie's birthday diaper along with us to Texas, so I'll take pictures tomorrow for her four month update. She doesn't go to the pediatrician until next Tuesday, so I'm bummed that I have to wait until then for an accurate weight check. Speaking of weight, this morning at church, in the nursery, I met a five-month-old baby boy who weighs 24 pounds. I am not kidding. His thighs looked as big around as Evie's waist. I didn't know that was possible!

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    (Almost) Wordless Wednesday

    This is a treasure from J's baby box. It was sent home with him after he was born in a Navy hopital in Japan in 1973. In order for you to be able to read it, I made it so big that it doesn't fit on the site. So just click on it to see the whole thing.


    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

    I realized today that there is a tragic dearth of pictures of Evie on my blog, so far this year at least. I'm here to remedy that tonight. But first, show and tell with objects.

    Here is a posed portrait of our newest family member, Pearl, newly bathed, brushed, with a clean dress and hair bows. Evie likes to suck on her nose. This afghan is also a recent addition to our home. It was R's as a baby. She brought it, along with a few other things, to lunch last Saturday. I am amazed and humbled that R trusts us with these precious mementos. They are simple objects, but they symbolize the love she has invested in Evie and I am tremendously grateful to her and G for the role they are playing in Evie's life.

    This is a dress that R wore as a toddler. It doesn't have a tag, so it might be homemade. It is cute in these pictures and simply precious in person.


    Get it? The puppy's tail turns into the left strap. :) I'm not sure if the dog is supposed to be a dachshund or a basset, but I'm choosing to believe it's a basset because Phoebe is part basset hound. Her body is much like the dog on the dress, except not covered in pink flowers. :)

    This is a cloth rocking horse that belonged to R as a baby. It is about a foot tall and plays "Yankee Doodle" via a music box inside its chest. When the music plays, the horse's head gently traces circles in the air (when I first described it to Josh I said "its head goes around in circles" and he pictured the Ex*orcist rocking horse).

    R also gave Evie a pillow with her first name quilted on the front (ETA: it has R's first name, not Evie's), but for obvious reasons I'm not putting that picture up. I think the name pillow is something we'll keep tucked away for later, since it might be confusing to Evie when she's a baby, to have somebody else's name on a pillow in her room. She'll appreciate it when she's older. The rocking horse will probably stay up high for a few years, too, as it has some "not approved for children under age 3" aspects to it, but the afghan will get use right away and the dress should fit Evie in a year or so. Of course I'll snap plenty of pictures when it fits.

    Moving on to pictures of Evie. One day last week we got desperate during a crying fit and put her in Apollo's beanbag. She liked it, kinda. It's right in front of the TV, so we couldn't tell whether she liked the beanbag or the soft blue glow of the boob tube. We got a couple of minutes of peace:

    After she had been in it, even for so short a time, Apollo immediately went over and laid in it for a nap. To the beagle, everything is more attractive if it has come into contact with humans.

    Since Evie was born, I've mostly used my wrap when I want/need to wear her, but this past week I started using my Ma*ya ring sling because it's easier to put on and Evie seems old enough to sit in it comfortably. She's not sure, yet, what she thinks:

    By the way, I have no idea if I'm wearing it right or wrong, so if anyone has feedback for me, feel free to comment!

    Here's the best shot I have so far of Evie grabbing at her legs and feet. We were trying to air out her bum because of the rash (gone now):

    In this next photo she had just pooped, by the way, and it's the first time I've known she pooped not just from the noise and her facial expressions but from the smell. Gah. Her poop has been the strangest colors lately...very odd.

    Here she is in her old-school Johnny Jump Up:

    As you can see in the above and below pictures, her new habit of chewing on her sleeves leaves them quite...wet:
    She's not sure yet what she thinks about the jumper. Pros: eye-level with the dogs, being upright, hand is right there to chew on. Cons: Mommy and Daddy think this is a great opportunity to eat dinner or do the dishes...not authorized!
    She did this for the first time today:
    I've seen lots of babies sleep this way, but Evie was just gazing at Rabbit, as usual. She seemed to like it, but I moved her out of this and into the traditional tummy time position because I wasn't sure this was giving her any of the standard tummy time benefits. I know, I know, I need to just relax about it. Anyhow, it gives you a good shot of her bald spot and birthmark. :)
    Here's what tummy time usually looks like these days:

    Although we're not always doing it on the changing table, we're also doing it in her play gym and she's started learning how to reach for toys and play while in tummy time, which makes her a lot more content.

    I'll end with an amusing anecdote: we ordered pizza for dinner tonight and the delivery guy knocked tentatively on the door instead of ringing the bell...because of the note I have up for the mailman and Fed*Ex/U*P*S guys. I was so touched! He needed money from us but was still trying to be polite. He must have been a father.

    Sunday, January 11, 2009


    There are a lot of things I could write about tonight, like the funny stuff J found in his memory box of baby and kid stuff while he was cleaning it out today (we were in the attic putting away Christmas), or the fact that Evie found her feet today and promptly put her socked foot into her mouth, or that we set up an old-fashioned Johnny Jump Up and shot video of her in it, or that she has her first diaper rash and is sleeping in a disposable diaper tonight so that I could slather her bum in diaper-cream-that-works-and-isn't-safe-for-cloth-diapers. (By the way my wrist is much better!) *AM update: Evie's rash is gone; Des*itin rocks.*

    But instead I wanted to acknowledge that today is a poignant anniversary; it has been four years since J's Grandma Evie passed away. So here are some photos and anecdotes; the things I'll be sharing with Evie in a few years.

    This is Grandma Evie at Christmas, 2002, with Apollo. It is one of our favorite pictures of her because she loved to sit and pat Apollo, and he adored her:

    (I can't help a parenthetical invitation to compare the handsome young beagle with the current heartbreaking to see how much more gray he's gotten:


    Here is a family photo from that same Christmas. Evie's Grandpa and Grandma, Grandma Evie, me, J and Evie's Uncle M. No, J isn't upset, he just doesn't like to smile for pictures. It's strange because he's a happy person otherwise. Oh well:

    Skipping forward to June of 2003, this photo is of Evie's Aunt C, Grandma Evie, Evie's Grandma L and me:

    It was taken after Grandma Evie's 90th birthday party at the Turtledove Tea Room in Albert Lea, Minnesota. It's the same location where I had my bridesmaid's luncheon before I married J on July 18, 1998. Sadly, the Turtledove doesn't exist anymore, I think...? This was way before C was part of the family and was actually the first time C and I met. Cute skirt! :) I have a terrible habit of forgetting to take off sunglasses in pictures. Anyhow, it was a wonderful party with many attendees and I know Grandma Evie felt very loved on this last birthday. I love how straight her posture is in this photograph; she never needed a cane or walker and stayed physically fit and active throughout her life.

    This next photo is from that same day, on the deck of J's parents' former house. This is J, me, Evie's Grandpa R and Grandma L, Grandma Evie, Uncle M and Aunt C:

    We used this photo in our adoption profile, by the way. We all look so happy (even J has a half smile!) and all-American here, but it makes me wistful to look at this picture now. Not only because it was one of the last times we saw Grandma Evie, but also because I have completely lost who I was at this moment. This was the summer right before we started TTC and the "me" in the picture has no idea that I have endometriosis that has been held in check by BCPs for years, that I will meet with an RE in a little more than a year, that I won't be pregnant in 2004. Looking at myself here makes me realize how much infertility has shaped me, despite the overtures of forgiveness I've made toward my body in the past few months. But even if I had gotten pregnant in 2004, Grandma Evie would never have met the baby, and the baby wouldn't be Evie. So.

    Here is Grandma Evie with J in our wedding album:
    A smile from J! Well, it is his wedding day.

    Here are just a few of the reasons we all admired, respected and loved Grandma Evie:
    • after the death of her husband, J's grandfather, in 1969, she stayed independent, optimistic and active for the next 35 years.

    • she continued to walk to church and to the grocery store and to play golf, into her 80's

    • she jaunted off to Mexico for the winter, with friends, every year. For many years, into their 70's, they drove from Minnesota to Mexico and back. Into their 80's they still drove around in a VW bug while they were staying in Mexico. While there, they sat outside, drank beer and played cards.

    • she could still beat us all at Scrabble, into her 80's

    • during the spring and summer she listened to Twins games on the radio while she crocheted afghans (one even won a blue ribbon at the county fair). Here is one of her afghans that I'm keeping safe for Evie to have one day:

    • she was a woman of faith; the type of faith demonstrated through her actions. She loved deeply and faithfully, spoke gently and radiated kindness.

    When parents name a child after a relative, they often hope that the baby will grow up to possess some of the traits of their namesake. We wish for Evie that she inherits Grandma Evie's energy, sweetness, optimism and a love for dark Mexican beer.

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