Monday, March 30, 2009

And the winner is...

Brooke! Congrats, Brooke, I'll leave a comment on your blog so we can get in touch for shipping info...

Here are the answers:

1. 16 lbs. and 15 oz. (whoops, for about 8 hours this was up saying 17 lbs. and 15 oz., sorry, I was tired)

2. purple

3. twice

Deanna would have won (except that she didn't enter) since she was so close with the weight and was the only one who got purple right. Maybe it's good she didn't enter, though, since she saw Evie in person recently and might have had an edge there. :)

So I chose 4 finalists:

Miss X for getting #3 right

Brooke for being closest on #1

Melba for #3

GiraffeMSW for #3

It's late, so instead of calling my mom I used this website and it spit back "2," which is Brooke.

Thanks for entering everyone! This was fun; I'll try to do it again sometime.

Evie stuff:
  • Evie is now about 70th percentile for weight and about 60th for height (26.25 inches) so she's moving around on the growth charts a tiny bit. I suppose this isn't unusual. Our recent punchline is that her weight may be 70th percentile but her cheeks are in the 99th percentile. The most common comment I get these days when we are out and about is that she's "healthy" and "you must be starving her!" Ha ha ha. :)

  • She loves everything so far: avocado, sweet potato and apples. She had green beans tonight and had a huge visceral reaction to the first bite (gah, Mama, what the heck?!) but then gobbled them all down. Good girl!

  • We had dinner with G tonight and despite all of our best efforts to get Evie into a good mood (timed safely before bedtime, toys, applesauce, sippy cup of water, bottle, nap beforehand, paci, teether...) she decided to be Grumpy McGrumpster. I think it's the fastest restaurant dinner we've ever eaten because she fussed through the whole thing. G was very happy to see her, though. She seemed frightened of his goatee...maybe J should grow one so she'll get over it? I love J in a goatee, but he usually grows one in the winter, not in the spring.

  • Evie might start crawling soon? I'm not sure about this since I'm a first-time mom and don't know exactly what signs to look for, but she is amazingly mobile when she's in her crib. We're really not sure how she does it, as we haven't managed to catch her in action on the video monitor yet, but she has started pretty much moving freely around in there and we never know how we'll find her when we get her in the morning or after naps. Direction, location and position are seemingly random. Can someone please tell me why babies like to scoot over to the edge of the crib and press their noses into the bumper pad while they sleep? I remember Jen's son Eric did this,too. Anyhow, she's starting to lunge for things from a sitting position, and "they" say that is a first step toward crawling. She's mobile enough that I took the bassinet out of her Pack*N*Play and now it really seems like jail when I put her in there because of the netting. She seems to love it, though, and plays happily when I need to switch out laundry loads or run out to the mailbox.

  • Evie's working on her abs of steel. She's started being able to sit back up by herself if she falls backward onto her b*oppy or another bolster behind her. Sometimes if she's sitting up and starts to fall sideways she can catch herself with a hand and right herself. (Okay, this happens one in 25 times.)

  • I'm still in the weeds. I keep thinking that I have things under control and then new tasks pop up. For example, now I spend about half of my day preparing food for Evie and cleaning up afterward. She eats a couple of tablespoons of food and I have to wash (depending on the food in question): cutting board and knife, peeler, food processor parts, spatula, storage containers, bowls, spoons, sippy cups, high chair tray, floor, hands, face, bib and clothing (helpful tip: avocado stains!). I've heard moms say that this is the norm; the day revolves around preparing and cleaning up one meal after another. So, I'm getting used to it.

  • She's still spitting up, but now sometimes it is orange or green and stains her clothes and ours (unlike her spit-up pre-solids, which only stained if she was on ready-to-drink formula). Today at our dinner with G she spit up on him and I caught it on film! It is the only picture I've ever gotten that shows the spit-up in the air. I feel like I caught the rare blue-feathered canary on film or something. I'd post it, except G is in the shot and I don't put pictures of R and G on the site. I do think, however (crossing my fingers and toes and knocking on wood...) that she is spitting up a tiny bit less. We aren't going through as many bibs and burp cloths each day, which is a great sign. Hopefully the trend will continue.

  • She is absolutely beautiful. My mom thinks she has double eyelashes like Elizabeth Taylor. Her hair is growing longer and seems to be lightening into a dark blonde or light brown. Her eyes seem to be staying gray-blue, but I'm still not putting it past them to turn brown in the next couple of months.

This last picture is with her godmother at church this morning...isn't it great? She loves to laugh these days and it's my favorite sound ever.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Miracle Blanket Giveaway

Awhile ago, the inventor of the miracle blanket left a note on my blog (on this post) thanking me for mentioning the blanket on my blog and offering me a free blanket. I was so surprised to find that comment; it felt like it came out of the blue, especially since it's been awhile since we've used a miracle blanket (we stopped using it when Evie was about 3 months old) and quite a long time since I mentioned it on the blog. We don't need another because we already have two that Evie used, stashed away in wait of our eventual baby #2. So, I am excited to have a reason for my first blog giveaway!

A quick disclaimer: the miracle blanket people didn't ask me to do a giveaway or to write about the blanket and praise it; I'm deciding to do this on my own because we really do love the blanket.

Here is the booty for the giveaway (this is a pic from the website, not a pic of the actual blanket, but the real thing is green with blue trim, and I do have it in hand):

I am thrilled to be able to give one of these away because it is a product that J and I heartily endorse to new parents we know. In fact, we discussed recently that it might become our standard baby shower gift. We learned about it from a friend (and fraternity brother) of J's who was a groomsman at our wedding and whose wife gave birth to their son over a year ago. These friends told us about the blanket and sent us one as a gift, but not before J and I had already ordered a couple of them from the website.

Evie was too strong and wiggly to be swaddled in receiving blankets or in other types of swaddling blankets. She always got her arms free and then woke herself up by scratching her face or bonking herself in the nose. The day after we got the miracle blanket in the mail, we tried it for the first time. We were intimidated by it at first, but after watching the instructional video on the website we figured it out and it was an (almost) immediate success. I wrote about it in this post from last November. I also wrote about it here, in her two month post, and I am still convinced that it was a combination of formula feeding and the blanket that lead to Evie sleeping through the night almost all of her third month. We finally stopped using the blanket on Christmas night, after Evie was over 3 months old; read about it here.

What we love(d) about the miracle blanket:

  • It is the only swaddling blanket we have used that actually kept Evie's arms at her sides so that she didn't wake herself up with them

  • It doesn't use velcro, so it doesn't startle a baby as you are wrapping and unwrapping them (Evie has a hyper-sensitivity to the sound of velcro and I bet many babies do the same thing)

  • It is cotton and lightweight so we never worried about her overheating

  • Almost every night we used it, she slept at least 7 and as many as 12 hours (we wish we had one from the start)

Our tips for success:

  • Don't judge the blanket's success based on the first couple of times you use it. Try it four or five times before you decide whether it works for your baby or not.

  • Watch the free instructional video on the website a few times before you try to use the blanket for the first time; it will give you confidence in what you're doing.

  • Don't despair if you feel like wrapping the blanket around the baby is difficult at first or if you feel as though you are doing it clumsily or incorrectly or bunching up the fabric too much. That's exactly how we felt at first but after a few nights it was much easier.

  • Make sure the top of the blanket comes only to the baby's shoulders. That way you can put them in a crib and not think twice about the blanket contributing to SIDS.

  • Because the blanket only comes to the baby's shoulders, don't forget to put him or her in a light cotton sleeper or in a onesie (depending on time of year) before wrapping them in the blanket.

  • Make sure the baby's diaper is freshly changed and absorbent enough to go all night because they might sleep longer than you think they will.

  • When we wrapped Evie we put her in a onesie and socks under the blanket and she seemed perfectly comfortable, neither too warm nor too cold, all through the months of November and December here in the lower Midwest. We keep our house at about 65 degrees at night in the winter.
  • Deanna used the miracle blanket for Snippet, so Deanna, feel free to add to this list in the comments!

Here's how the giveaway will work:

  • Enter by leaving a comment with your best guesses for the following 3 questions:
  1. What was Evie's weight, rounded to the nearest ounce, at her 6 month doctor visit this past Tuesday morning? She pooped right before we went. :)
  2. What color was her outfit at said appointment?
  3. How many times did she spit up while the doctor was examining her?
  • If you don't want to enter you can still leave a comment, just don't answer the questions
  • The person who has the most accurate answers will win. If more than one person gets all three questions right, I'll number the finalists and have my mom choose a random number between one and x, x being the number of people who got the questions right.
  • The winner will receive the miracle blanket pictured above, new in the original packaging :) as well as the board book A to Z by Sandra Boynton (new as well).
  • I will notify the winner, so make sure your entry is linked to your blog or e-mail so that I can get in touch with you. I will also post the winner on my blog.
  • The winner will send me his or her address and I will pay shipping and packaging costs.
  • Feel free to spread the word about this giveaway, but I'm not giving extra entries to people who blog about this or follow me or whatever else.
  • Calling up my mom, J or our doctor for the answers is grounds for disqualification, if you know me well enough to get your hands on those phone numbers.
  • The deadline for entries is this Sunday night, March 29th, 2009, at 11:59 PM Central Daylight Savings Time.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Well, those of you who have read my blog for awhile probably figured out that Evie's 6 month post was a bit...incomplete.

Here is her 6 month interview! She is a babbling fool these days, or as a passerby in M*arshalls said today, "she's quite vocal!"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Six Months Old!

Evie is six months old today! Just for fun, some "reject" pics from previous birthday diaper photo shoots. One month old: Two months old:

Three months old:
Four months old:

Five months old:
The best shot from yesterday's 6 month shoot:

Today was a big day; Evie learned that not all food is white! I planned to feed her sweet potatoes for her first solid food (besides rice cereal), but in the end we didn't plan well enough to have the potato baked and ready for her when she was hungry (I didn't feel good about microwaving it for this special occasion). So I mushed up some ripe avocado instead. Her reaction was...mixed:Since she seemed uncertain about the taste and texture of the avocado on a spoon, I put a few dollops onto her tray so that she could explore it on her own terms. She was puzzled at first...Then intrigued when I added a spoon to the scenario... And ended up making a beautiful mess of it all:

We'll try some more avocado tomorrow and see if she eats a bit more of it.
We finished the evening with a bath in her new ducky tub (look at the big girl sitting up!)...

...and a new story about bunnies searching for Easter eggs that Grandma brought with her from Texas.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Blogoversary and Our Trip

Happy Blogoversary to me! A year ago today, J and I had a conversation in a hotel room. Exhausted from walking around New Orleans, and with a few beers in our stomachs, we collapsed on the bed and talked about our future. We had just gotten "the call" three days before. We were matched with M & T and were excited about an opportunity to adopt a baby girl due on July 6th. Later that night we would collect beads at a St. Patrick's Day parade in the French Quarter, but at that point we were simply discussing where to eat dinner. I mentioned casually that a friend (Deanna) had suggested I start a blog about our adoption and that I couldn't decide what to call it. We discussed this and came up with "Clio."

Today I flew home from the Baltimore/D.C. area with my almost 6-month-old daughter! She did pretty well; the flight home was direct and she took a 30-minute nap at one point. We had the whole row to ourselves (I wonder why?) and I put up the armrests, laid her down across two seats and buckled her in around her waist. I gave her a paci and her lovey blanket and, along with the white noise of the plane engines, they sent her off to sleep like a charm. It would have been a great flight if it weren't that she got very hungry and fussy right before descent and drank her whole bottle before we started changing altitude. Trying to force a strong, squirmy baby to suck on a pacifier so that her ears will pop? Not fun for anyone in the vicinity.

High point of today: getting home to balmy spring weather and taking a walk as a family of five (J, Evie, me, Apollo and Phoebe).

Low point of today: discovering that while I was reading R*eal S*imple magazine, Evie was teething on one of the plane's seat belts. Ewwwwwww! Note to self: my days of reading on planes are OVER.

Funny moment from today: having a security officer tell me that Evie looks just like me. Yeah...I store walnuts in my cheeks, too. :) You be the judge (yes, my hair is always the same, same, same)...
Now (at Deanna's house on Friday):
Verdict? I really don't think we look alike, but OK, thanks!

Evie had a blast this weekend. She got to visit her very first museum, P*ort D*iscovery in Baltimore, with Safire and her three adorable kiddos. Butterfly refused to play the part of a difficult 3-year-old and was sweet and helpful all day. Pirate and Professor are two of the most good-natured little boys I've ever met. Evie was exhausted from her 4 AM wake-up call that morning (for our flight out) but seemed to enjoy her view of the museum from stroller level. I had been dreading Thursday (early flight, Evie's first flight, navigating baby + enormous duffel bag by myself) but Safire and Deanna made it a great day. We had lots of fun (more detail on Safire's blog here) and it was very cool to meet them all after reading about them for so long!

Then we stayed with Deanna, Jake and Snippet for a couple of days. It was great! Deanna and I have met up before, but it is usually over a meal or at an event with limited time to sit and chat. We had plenty of opportunity to gab this weekend, and it was so exciting to meet Snippet. Both Deanna and I felt verkelmpt about sitting around a table with Safire's kids, Snippet and Evie; after five long years we had all overcome our infertility and the five pieces of evidence were gathered together in one place (crying, pooping and teething on the edge of the table). It was beautiful. Read more about it (and my slightly OCD tendencies) here.

Later, Evie got to jump, bounce and giggle in a J*umperoo for the very first time at Deanna's house:
And hang out in Snippet's J*ohnny J*ump U*p (which is newer and more comfortable then her retro version). The look on her face is pure "Mom! Stop taking pictures of me!"

I left Deanna on Saturday afternoon and met up with Jen at a very strategic time: right before her surprise baby shower (organized by her husband). I couldn't mention the "real" reason for my trip until now because it was a surprise, but this was the impetus for my last-minute travel plans. Jen is very pregnant with her second baby, a girl they plan to name Rachel. Anyhow, John used me as a distraction, to get Jen out of the house while friends and family arrived and set up for the party. Jen was very surprised. She was not expecting to have a shower at all, let alone to receive almost every single item from her registry! I am so glad Evie and I could be there to celebrate Rachel and see Eric (my big, toddling godson!). My favorite day with Jen was Monday. All day we just did normal things (taking care of kids, errands, cleaning, cooking, etc.) but did it together. It was so fun for me (and I hope for Jen, although she's so pregnant that I don't know if anything is fun for her right now) and it made me sad, too. I wish I had a friend who lived next door so that we could hang out in each other's houses during the day and parent together. It's so much more fun to feed, change and entertain a baby when there is another adult around to chat with. Sadly, we were so busy that I forgot to get pictures of Evie and Eric together. :(

It's late, and although I've left out a lot from this account of our trip, I'm going to wrap it up:

  • Please pray or send good vibes in Jen's direction. She's planning a home birth after having a traumatic hospital birth with her son, Eric. She is scared of the pain, but even more so of the challenges she will face while staying home with a young toddler (14 months) and a newborn. She's 37 weeks now, but having contractions and could deliver any day.
  • This last year has been a whirlwind! It had its moments of tragedy and pure joy, but overall it has been one of the best years of my life, and I feel as though I let it race by me without savoring each moment the way it deserved. Forget my New Year's resolutions, my blogoversary resolution is much more important: slow down and focus on truly experiencing each day I spend with my daughter. It is such a privilege to be her mama. I want to look back from the vantage point of my 2 year blogoversary and say "this year was spectacular; I was a mother the whole time!"

Coming mom arrives for a visit and Evie turns 6-months-old...and my first giveaway!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

This and That

It's been a week of ups and downs:

Up--last weekend J helped me get extra down time so that I could finish The Shadow of the Wind (and The Tales of Beedle the Bard) and start my next book: A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley.

Down--J left on a week-long business trip

Up--Evie stopped needing a middle-of-the-night bottle, for now (although she's still needing pacifier replacements in the wee hours)

Down--Evie decided that napping is for wimps (I'm thinking this is directly related to the previous up?)

Up--We enjoyed unseasonably warm weather and were able to spend time on our screened porch

Down--Our washing machine broke, with a full pail of diapers waiting in the wings

Up--Our friends Will and Holly came to my rescue; they took me in and gave me love, adult conversation and the use of their washer!

Down--Our washer couldn't be fixed (we paid almost $800 for it and it lasted 5 years) and we had to buy a new one

Up--Evie sat up by herself for the first time, for a couple of minutes

Down--Her diaper rash is back (we're pretty sure it's yeast; feel free to leave advice in the comments; right now we're using Monistat on it and trying to air it out when possible)

Up--I made plans to fly to Baltimore/D.C. to visit friends next weekend

Down--A front is moving through, sweeping out our warm air and making J and I miserable with allergy and sinus symptoms

Up--I have been productive! The house is getting spring cleaned, I'm finding time to read and scrapbook, and I finally pulled out my supplies to try my hand at making hair bows for Evie

Down--I am still not getting my butt in gear and working out the way I need to

Up--I'm finally getting this blog post finished

Down--It's 1 AM...oh, crap, it's really 2 AM

Up--Evie is such a sweetheart of a companion these days! Here she is in our Mayan hammock that we brought back from our anniversary trip this summer. I hung it up for our nice weather:

Gina of On the Road to Baby, nominated me for the Sisterhood Award, which recognizes blogs with great attitude and gratitude. Gina nominated bloggers who have had an impact on her and I'm touched that she thought of me. She and I actually live fairly close to one another geographically but haven't met in person...yet. :)
I'm not good at picking people, which is why I never do it for memes. I hate to leave anyone out. But for this I am going to mention some people I love. None of them are the type of blogger to have awards in their sidebars, so I don't expect them to add this one. But, this is a "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" award and my pants are traveling to see them all next weekend. So:

Jen is my BFF. She and I met as undergraduates at U.Va. and shared apartments for two years. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and I was a bridesmaid in hers. I'm her son's godmother. We have the kind of friendship that has survived so many ins and outs and ups and downs that we can (and do) tell each other just about everything. What I love most about Jen: she is capable of switching gears from a sarcastic comment to giving great advice to swearing like a sailor to comforting me to listening and then back to sarcasm...within 5 minutes. Being her friend is never boring and I love that she makes me laugh, cry, groan and love her more every time we talk. She's one of the friends I'm visiting next weekend and I can't wait to see Eric toddling around!

Deanna is a wonderful friend. We met online as fellow writers of iParenting Preconception Diaries. Our TTC and infertility journeys had many parallels and we recognized each other as kindred spirits. We proceeded to keep in touch via Fertility Friend message boards, a private message board set up by a mutual online friend, and then via e-mail and her blog. She e-mailed me a photo of her BFP last January and I called her last March when we got "the call." Deanna is the reason that this blog exists! When I called her last year to tell her about Lucy, she suggested that I should start a blog about the adoption. Two days later I pulled out J's laptop in our New Orleans hotel room and he helped me come up with "Clio." I make a point of meeting up with Deanna every time I'm in the DC area because I enjoy her company so much. What I love most about Deanna: she is a rare jewel of a person...genuine and authentic...somehow she manages to be smart and snarky and at the same time thoughtful and generous. She is an excellent writer and has a beautiful son. I can't wait to meet him next weekend!

Safire is an online friend who's about to be a real life friend. We are going to try to meet up next weekend and I'm thrilled to meet her and her adorable kids. She is a blogger that I've known since our iParenting days and it's been fun to watch her family grow over the years. She's a faithful blogger and does a great job of documenting her kids' lives the way I try to do as well. She has a very honest voice, too, and from reading her blog so long I feel as though I already know her well. What I love most about Safire: she is an honest blogger who writes about the good, bad and wacky aspects her experience with motherhood. She doesn't exaggerate or gloss over. She's also great with a camera and is a wonderful storyteller. And her kids are precious!

So here are the rules:
Put the logo on your blog or post.
Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude.
Be sure to link to your nominees in your post
Let your nominees know they have received the award by leaving them a comment on their blog
And be sure to link this post to the person who nominated you for the award.

So, I broke a couple of the rules. C'est la vie.

My Shelfari Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog