Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday Pictures and Open Adoption Roundtable

First, open adoption. Second, photos with captions.

Heather, at Production, Not Reproduction, has posted Open Adoption Roundtable #6: write about names and naming in open adoption.

While I considered using M's name as Lucy's middle name and R's name as Evie's middle name, the idea never had much support from other members of the family. We would have been open to either M & T or R & G choosing their own names for their babies on the original birth certificate, but both couples were happy to put the names we chose on the babies' birth certificates at the hospital. There is really only one thing I can think of to write about this topic: we ran our name ideas by both couples and seriously considered their input. We were considering Olivia for Lucy, but M & T didn't like it and we dropped it from consideration immediately. With Evie, we ran the name by G and he said that he not only liked the name, but also liked its origins because he considered naming Evie after his own grandmother, if he and R had decided to parent. That information sealed our decision that Evie would be Evie.

Now for photos and captions!

Evie might be transitioning to one afternoon nap. During the transition, she's been cranky on and off during play times (but won't fall asleep if I try to put her down). So I created a nap nook in the playroom with a play tent, blankets and stuffed animals. I'm going to try to show her that if she's playing and gets sleepy, she can crawl in there and rest for awhile. Right now, however, it is just a super cool new toy:

I may have successfully begun Evie's love affair with books (crossing my fingers). She has been diligently practicing turning pages by herself and likes to babble to herself in a tone of voice that mimics mine, as if she is reading. This, of course, is absolutely adorable. Here she is reading with her Daddy:
Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see a baby torturing me!

Our little monkey climber. One of these days she's going to figure out how to scale this gate and get to the "doggies!"
J's version of babywearing; taking Evie on walks with the dogs. He has gotten a few comments from passersby about "multitasking:"

This little armchair from BRU is an early birthday gift from Evie's grandma. We've placed it in the kitchen next to a bookcase that holds several of her board books. Now she can read to herself like a big girl:

And use it to read in...creative...ways:

AND use it as a step stool to get to her books:

I read somewhere that this is a good time to introduce Evie to the idea of using a spoon and fork to eat. She's been playing with spoons for months, but we've never done this before! Recipe: mix one baby, one bowl with a suction cup bottom, one toddler sized spoon and a serving of cream of wheat with agave nectar and cinnamon sugar mixed in. Result? She did actually use the spoon to transfer food from the bowl to her mouth a few times, and got cheers and claps from J and me in return:

Last, Evie's hair is getting longer. In the near future I envision tiny pigtails. But for now, it's just long enough for her Daddy to give her horns in the bathtub:

Tomorrow I'm sending out invitations to Evie's birthday party!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Friday Fragments

This is my first time doing Friday Fragments, just like Yaya does. :) For more, visit Half-Past Kissin' Time.

As promised (thanks, Mom and Dad!), here I am in the dress Evie is wearing in this video (long)and in this video (short). I'm not sure how old I am here (help again, Mom?) but I must be older than one judging from my long hair? My hair was white blonde as a child. Sigh. Now it's "dirty" blonde.


I am almost done reading A Thousand Acres! It's only taken me, what? Six months? I'm so proud of myself that I'm joining a local book club, which is reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo this month. Wish me luck getting it read.

I went yard sale shopping this morning and found some great stuff! My favorite location was a newly retired elementary school teacher who was selling all of her personal teaching materials from her classroom. I bought a big magnet board with a magnetic alphabet for $2 and wooden mosaic blocks like these for $5. They'll be stashed away for when Evie is over three, since they are choking hazards. I also found a pair of toddler 5 1/2 size S*tride R*ite white patent leather mary janes, barely worn, for 50 cents and a bunch of big girl books in great condition (lots of Caldecott Honor Books) for 25 cents each. I'm going to go add them to Evie's Library in a minute. I'm most excited about Make Way for Ducklings because it was a favorite of mine, and my mom, too.

Evie said her third word this morning! (We are counting "Mama" as her first and "Dada" as her second). J brought her in to wake me up and our dogs were in bed with me. I said to Evie "say good morning to the doggies!" and she said "Doggies!" quite distinctly and then repeated it a few more times, albeit less distinctly, later that morning.

We went to the zoo with friends yesterday and it was the first time that Evie really seemed to notice and enjoy the animals. We went in the morning and it was cool, so the zoo was deserted and the animals were all out in the open and easy to see. It was wonderful. We got to see a leopard up close because its habitat was built to go over the footpath and it was sunning itself and giving itself a bath while lying on chicken wire directly over our heads. It took awhile to get Evie to see it above her, but once she did she was delighted. Her favorite was probably the duck pond, though. She waved "hi" to the ducks and screeched at them with delight.

Another interesting milestone, Evie's first phobia: she is terrified of plush toys that play music and move. She's been wary of R's rocking horse for months, and today I brought home a 18" plush giraffe (from a yard sale, $2) that plays "Animal Crackers" when you press a spot on its leg. Evie is terrified of it. Great.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

11 Months Old!

One month ago we were flying home from Charlottesville.

One month from now I'll be cleaning the house before Evie's birthday party.

Happy 11 months, Evie Bea!

Here is a link to her previous monthly diaper photos, and here are the best shots from today:

And her interview:

Today, Evie is 21 pounds (57th percentile) and 29 inches (56th percentile).

Eating: Evie is still drinking formula (she prefers it cold now) before naps, at bedtime and for a midnight feeding. However, she weaned herself from bottles when her first top tooth came in, and now drinks it from juice boxes. She is also drinking whole milk with her meals and eating mostly table food. We still offer a few purees, but mostly just to use up our freezer stash of them. Her favorites are blueberries, yogurt, waffles, banana, peas, cheese, black olives, beans (all kinds), rice (she only likes it with some salt-free spice or flavoring mixed in, like Spanish rice, Mexican rice, risotto, etc.), mac and cheese, pasta (with some flavor or sauce), almost any fruit and any sweets she gets to try (like ice cream, sorbet, the chocolate chip cookie someone fed her at church last Sunday...). She also had some junk food (Five Guys) on our trip to Virginia, and seems to love french fries as much as her mother does.
Here she is, eating blackberries:

Sleeping: Evie sleeps about 12-13 hours at night, with one waking to eat, usually around midnight. She takes one or two naps each day, depending on whether I'm dragging her around town to activities and on errands during her morning nap. Her naps are much better than in the past. Occasionally they are still 30-40 minutes, but more often last over an hour. She also goes to sleep more easily and stays asleep through household noises much more often. Our bedtime routine is bath, lotion, books, formula, pacifier and lights out. We lay her in her crib still awake and she goes to sleep on her own. For awhile we were doing white noise and/or lullabies on her i*Pod, but we aren't using either anymore. I snuck into her room during her afternoon nap today to get this picture. Thank goodness I didn't wake her. It was quite risky:

Gross motor skills: This was a big month, since Evie learned to walk! I won't go into it, since I've already posted about it. Her latest tricks are standing up from sitting without pulling up on something, and walking up to an object, stooping to pick it up, standing up again and toddling around holding it. She seems to understand that carrying something around is quite the skill, because she loves to toddle around holding random objects. At least, if there is a purpose to carrying them from one room to the next, I haven't figured it out yet. She is also a climber. Actually, climbing is hands-down her favorite thing to do these days. If she sees a platform or a set of stairs, she is obsessed with getting to them and climbing them. We still have to help her climb back down, unfortunately, so we try to limit the amount of time she spends climbing. Sorry, Evie. She likes to climb through things as well, like climbing through chair rungs, through the bottom shelf of our kitchen island and through and empty shelf in the library. We haven't spent as much time on our screened porch this month because she is obsessed with climbing through the dog doors, and we haven't found a good way to distract her (for a variety of reasons, including the way they are installed and Apollo's insistence on freedom to come and go, it doesn't work to blockade them).

Fine motor skills: Evie first pointed when she was 9 months old (at a globe), but didn't generalize the skill until this month. Now she points all the time, and I love it! It makes talking to her so much more fun because it feels like a conversation to tell her the names of the things she points at. Her favorite things to point at are pictures in books and pictures on walls. Evie also started using baby signs this month and can inconsistently sign "more" and "all done," as well as wave "hi" and "bye bye" (which was a 9 month skill). She can also clap, "give me 5" and is learning to do "soooo big." Her pincer grasp is excellent, and she can pincer slimy banana and avocado now, which was difficult at first.

Verbal skills: Evie's first word was "Mama" at 9 months and this month added "mum mum" for any food or drink. She says "Dada" but not consistently to J. She has also said "no, no" and "hi" and tries to say doggie..."da" but hasn't said those things enough for me to be convinced they are actually words and not just imitations of us. Her babbling has expanded this month, however, and some of her jargon sounds like a foreign language. One of her favorite games is the "eh" game where she and an adult go back and forth saying "eh" to each other in varying volume and pitch. Actually, I shouldn't say an adult because she also played this game with another baby of the same age recently. Needless to say, that was ADORABLE. If you want to see the "eh" game in action, check out the video in my post "The long cut," a couple of posts before this one. The "eh" game starts at 2:42 in the video. Her adorable little girl giggle is right at the end of her interview (above).

Evie has, as all young kids do, an amazing amount of interest in and understanding of electronic gadgets. Here she is playing with her Great-Grandpa's handheld fishing game at the cabin a couple of weeks ago: She also has figured out how to turn on and off cell phones and has created some new contacts in my cell phone: 2, 25 and 82. I have to scroll by those numbers now when I'm calling someone from my address book. I don't delete them because it's so funny to me! She is extremely interested in her dad's blackberry, too. He's let her play with it a couple of times and now whenever she sees him with it she lunges for it.

A family photo from our trip to Minnesota. J, Evie, me, Nana, Papa, Aunt C, Pika Puppy and Uncle M:

Playing with bubbles, with Great-Grandma:

Our little mermaid doing naked baby yoga in her pool:

I love this shot:

She isn't interested in Baby M*um M*ums anymore (drat!) and barely tolerates puffs, so we've moved on to crunchy toddler snacks and yogurt melts and such. We just started using the S*nack T*rap with her and she's figuring it out pretty well. Some snacks still escape, but it's better than watching her dump a bowl on the floor and eat her snack with dog hairs sticking to it:

Anyone remember this picture from when Evie was 2 months old? She loves this bear now, and prefers that her Daddy play with it with her, because he makes it growl and paw at her with its big vinyl claws. She also loves for J to "trample" her with a small stuffed buffalo I found at a yard sale. He makes it paw the floor and snort and then rampage toward her. He lowers her to the ground and stampedes the buffalo over her body. She LOVES this game, and only Dada does it right. I've tried. You can see for yourself in the above interview, at the 3:30 mark.

Yesterday was Evie's first time being able to toddle through one of the spray grounds that so many shopping centers and parks are putting in:

She had a great time!

And it was a perfect day for it because it was warm but overcast. I still put sunblock on her, of course.

In other news, we purchased a potty and put it in the bathroom next to the big potty. My reasoning is that girls potty learn earlier than boys, and cloth diapered babies potty learn earlier than babies in disposables (because they don't like the feeling of being wet), so potentially Evie could be ready to potty learn before she turns 2. We're going to let her lead the way and let us know when she wants to try, but the first step is understanding what a potty is and what it is for. I often sit her on her potty while I'm on mine, and give her lots of praise for it. Thus, she loves to sit on it! I wish I had a picture of the times that she put the pot on her head, but it's rare that I have the camera with me in the bathroom. :) We have put her on it naked, usually before a bath, but she hasn't gone in it yet. When she does for the first time, I'm going to lavish clapping and huzzahs on her:

The last 2 months (since I never did a proper post for 10 months) have been full and rich. Evie is a social butterfly who thrives in new environments and loves people-watching. At home, alone, with me, she is cranky, clingy and easily bored. She can't tolerate watching me get something done (folding laundry, doing dishes, eating), especially when she's getting tired. My coping strategies are 1. putting her down for a nap when she gets whiny and 2. getting out of the house every day. When Evie turned 9 months old, our only activities were church, shopping and irregularly activities with friends. In the past 2 months I've joined two different moms' clubs, signed up for free activities and events at the library, actively sought out other moms for play dates, signed up for P*arents as T*eachers and investigated MOPS groups in our area that are starting up soon (with the start of the school year). I have successfully created a manic level of busyness for Evie and myself, which is keeping both of us happy at the moment. Now if only Evie didn't hate her car seat so much...

I don't want to be one of those moms who over-schedules her baby, but it's more of a coping strategy than a goal in and of itself. Anyhow, I'm enjoying meeting new people as well, and Evie usually has a blast as soon as we get to wherever and she gets out of the car. Even at a recent library event where most of it was over her head (storytelling to a mixed audience of ages 0-10 or so), she enjoyed cruising around the back of the audience, interacting with the other babies who were doing the same thing. Now that she's toddling, all of these activities are going to be that much more fun for her. Hopefully we'll be able to stay busy and connected through the winter, despite midwestern weather.

In other news, it seems that Congress is working on an "abortion reduction" bill (Ryan DeLauro bill) that includes a new, larger, adoption tax credit (bumped up to $15,000 and will increase each year, adjusted by inflation). I'm not going to go into how adoption tax credits will reduce abortions (?), but just be thankful that this issue is in the news and hope that a tax credit passes, as long as the rest of the bill isn't undesirable in any way. If the tax credit is extended, J and I will probably wait until Evie is 3 to adopt again. If it isn't renewed, we'll probably jump back into the pool soon and try to adopt again before the current tax credit expires in December 2010. We'll see.


Just finished our 11 month diaper photo session. Here are bloopers to laugh at while I work on the post.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wordless Tuesday

OK, not wordless. This image consists of 2000 smaller images of Evie. Make your own.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The long cut

These 4 minutes of Evie cuteness and me prattling on are brought to you at Grandma's request (and I'm sure Nana will enjoy them, too!).

The dress Evie is in here is one from my childhood (hence the snowflakes in August) and I think it is handmade? Perhaps by my mom? At least, it doesn't have a tag. It's even cuter in person. Hey, Mom, if you have a picture of me in this dress, just scan it and e-mail it to me and I'll put it up. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What's New

The author of Giant Speed Bump and Love You Already honored me with an award recently (thanks!), and the award asks that I mention 15 new blogs that I'm reading. Unfortunately, I've been having trouble staying caught up with reading my "old" blogs, so I'm not going to be able to come up with 15 without being creative. But I do have a few somewhat newbies to show off.

  • Our Little Surprise and The Adventures of Andy and Eli are both authored by my new friend (and J's ex-girlfriend from high school!), Jennifer. Check out her blogs if you're in the mood for some adorable pictures of a newborn baby girl and 2 super cute boys.
  • Just Another Day in Paradise is one of my new favorite blogs because we have a lot in common and her posts are a lot of fun to read (I love her writing style). She's embarking on some exciting, high-tech IF treatments, so go give her some support if you have time.
  • The Last Best Hope is another fairly new blog that I've been enjoying, and she is just starting the adoption process. I got to see her profile recently, in pdf form, and it is fabulous!
  • As a result of participating in the recent Open Adoption Roundtables, I have started reading a few birthparent blogs. I'm not sure why I never did before, but I suspect that I was intimidated. I'm so glad that I started reading, however, because one particular blog has captured my interest. birthmomtalks is about a month away from her birth daughter turning 18 and the possiblity that she might be able to meet her after a closed adoption. I am very grateful to her for being the one who recommended the book The Girls Who Went Away to me. It is one of the most captivating reads I've come across in months, and it has given me an increased empathy not only for birth mothers and adult adoptees, but also for anti-adoption advocates. It made me realize that, because the adoption culture has been changing recently, there is a kind of generation gap between members of the adoption triad from the mid to late 20th century and those of us who have entered the adoption triad more recently. It will always be difficult for us to understand each other's feelings and motivations, as with any generation gap, but this book was quite enlightening.
  • Baby Steps to a Baby Dream is another fairly new blog that I started following and she just matched with an expecting mom! Yay!

In other NEWs, Evie participating in our library's summer reading program. I found out that the library lets all kids sign up, ages 0 through high school. They challenge preschoolers to read 100 "Juvenile Easy" books over the summer, in 5 lists of 20 books. Each completed list earns the child a free book and the fifth list earns a special prize (a childrens' music CD). At first I rolled my eyes a bit that we couldn't count Evie's home library and had to check out all 100 books from the library, but in the end I'm glad we did. Evie discovered some new favorites among her 100 books, and I would like to share her recommendations with those of you who have babies her age. Hopefully your library will have them, too! (You'll notice that the "touch and feel" and "lift the flap" genres are heavily represented in Evie's favorites right now.)

This is My Duck (and he says "quack, quack!")

That's Not My Penguin (there are many books in this series, and Evie seems to love all of them that we've read so far, including "That's Not My Lion" and "That's Not My Monkey.")

Baby Faces (she LOVES watching me imitate the babies' faces)

Peekaboo Playtime (this is one in a series as well, and Evie seems to love them all, especially because the flaps are easy for her to lift by herself)

(and one of my new favorites, although Evie isn't interested yet)

Good Dog, Carl (The baby in the fish tank! Classic! Great illustrations.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Watch out, world

Today Evie:

*walked over a threshold without tripping
*learned to walk around corners and in circles
*stopped walking, stooped to pick up a toy, stood back up and continued toddling
*stopped walking, turned around and walked back the way she had come

At this rate, she'll be running the 100 yard dash by November. Heh.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Flashback Video

Shot on July 4th, pre-toddling. In which Evie shows off her new "wave hello and bye bye" skill and then refuses to cooperate with her director's requests, but is still awfully cute:

I've been working on a montage video of pictures and videos from Evie's first year, which will hopefully be finished shortly after her birthday party since I started it this week. The above is just one of the never-before-seen video clips I am using in the montage. (read my last sentence as tongue in cheek, please)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Then and Now

*3 months old
*0 teeth
*Just started rolling front to back
*Eating only bottles of formula
*10 months old
*4 teeth (2 bottom, 2 top)
*walking, when she feels like it
*decided to wean herself from bottles due to tooth pain (we're still offering formula in juice boxes)

I'm feeling all verkelmpt this evening.

(Evie took her first trip to the ER this weekend, at 2 AM no less. We were concerned about dehydration because her teething pain was causing her to reject most solids and all liquids for about 12 hours straight. We got condescending pats on the head and 4 pedialyte popsicles for our $50 co-pay. Evie refused the popsicles, too. But she's fine now.)

My Shelfari Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog