Friday, September 25, 2009

42 weeks!!! (and hopefully legible!!!)

Daddy Kev here again.

First of all, our apologies to any and all of you who might have tried checking out the blog in the past 14 hours or so. You probably came across a plastering of small advertisements over the whole of the page that formed one huge (and ugly) ad for Photobucket, rendering the actual content we were expecting to get to you unreadable. We believe we've taken care of that mess (hence the less stylish look of "The Gift Finally Given", but hey, now you can read this post!).

This is going to be a bit of a scattershot entry. It's been a long day, but a very good one. Still, we're all a bit tired, and so this won't be the most structured entry ever.

I'm writing this from the comfort of Caroline's godparents' home in Atlanta, GA. We're in town for the installation (as associate pastor) of a blog friend of Sarah's in which Sarah will be taking part on Sunday. But we're also taking the time to visit with Katie, Haddon, and Abby (of the Las Paletas comic fame back in June). We're looking forward to a weekend of good fellowship and fun with many folks here. Which means...

Caroline has now been on the longest car trip of her life. A bit over 4 hours in the car from Nashville to Atlanta (would probably be a bit under 4 hours were it not for construction and rush hour traffic), and she did great! She did sleep for about the first hour, but was wide awake for the rest of the trip. (Sarah here now!) She really did remarkably well, just a few fussy periods. She had a lot of fun playing with a plastic coke bottle. Daddy says that she's a coke fan because last week when she was hanging at the Div School she pulled up on the coke machine and banged on it repeatedly as if to say "GIVE ME COKE!" Which is funny because apparently my first sentence was "No, I want a coke." (At 18 mos old... how I knew what coke was... I dunno... maybe Mamie will weigh in...) Anyhow... we're proud of our girl. A four hour drive and good spirits for most of it.

Caroline discovered "They Might Be Giants" this week! Kev was listening to a Radio Lab podcast on which they were featured and Caroline was delighted- clapping, bouncing, dancing... So Kev has started playing their first children's album for her and she LOVES it.

Yesterday night as we were packing up she was playing in her crib. She kept pulling up on the bars and jumping, jumping, jumping! And then she'd pull her hands off and lean back a bit, standing unsupported for a few seconds, and then would grab hold of the bars again. She seems to be standing up with hardly any effort these days. And this week she even did some standing from a squat and then squatting again. She is SO close... and so pleased with herself!

As of today... the top two teeth... are starting to poke through, just a bit of white showing... thank goodness. She's been working hard on those teeth and has had some rough spells thanks to them! It is nice to see some progress!!

Oh, and this week she grabbed at my water glass as she has many times before, but she successfully took sips of water out of it with my help! And had a great time dipping her hands into it and then stroking my face. Trying to baptize me? I'm not sure.

She's amazing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Videos!!!!! (from the past few weeks!)

A pictorial view of 41 weeks!

Wasn't it nice having thoughts from daddy? I just couldn't keep my eyes open Friday night and begged him to post something anything... as he is spending WAY more time with Caroline than I these days... it is especially good for his voice to be here.

He forgot to mention that last Sunday after I preached at a church not too far away we tried to take a nap, but Ms. Caroline was WIRED. So we decided to head to the zoo to make use of the membership that Mamie and Grandpa gave us for my birthday/our anniversary (which is tomorrow! 7 years!) figuring the drive there, or the walk around the zoo, would put her to sleep... um, no... but she was happy to be outside. Captivated more by the people than the animals. Kev hadn't been to a zoo in a LONG time and historically has not been a fan... but he likes it! I think daddy and baby will be spending a fair bit of time there.

But see? She really needed a nap. (She'll use a pacifier these days, finally! More as a teether than anything else...)

A few more shots from the zoo. I have some good animal pics, but this is Caroline's blog, right? So... some so, so pics of her!

But when we got home... finally... she napped... twas a LATE nap and thus a LATE night... but... ah... sleep...

(As I prepare this post both daddy and baby are taking sabbath naps! C conked out at the end of church and didn't even wake up when we got her into her carseat for more than just a moment. She's sound asleep in her car seat in the nursery. Daddy is in bed next to me, breathing deeply!)

Apparently one of Caroline's favorite things to do these days is to pull up on the low bookshelf in our kitchen and pull the
cookbooks off one by one... she then enjoys eating the books one at a time. Here she examines a tasty bread cookbook after pulling it off the shelf...

She's also still pretty fond of pulling up on the piano bench and reaching up to play a note or two...

And she likes crawling under the piano bench, too. Daddy says she often tries to stand up when she gets under there and gets pretty frustrated when she bangs her head (that noggin... she bangs it and bangs it and bangs it...) but the day I was shooting her movements she crawled right back out and isn't she just the cutest?

And our girl is a drama queen. Just a few of her many faces and moves... Meal times can be such fun...

But the BIGGEST development of the week is that she points now! Here she is at the Mexican restaurant last night pointing away. She's clapping less, pointing more... She especially likes to point at the colorful thingie hanging over her changing table. When we then spin it she gets very excited. Maybe soon she'll point then clap!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A (Text) Week in Review

Daddy Kev here with highlights from the past week.

Monday evening saw Caroline taking in a worship service at Vanderbilt. An event co-sponsored by the local American Guild of Organists (as a kick-off event for their new year) and the Vanderbilt Divinity School, it was a service featuring lots of great music (choral, organ, and brass) and the Rev. Dr. Don Saliers as homilist. Caroline loved the music, looking up to where the choir was each time they started singing and joyfully waving her arms along with the peppier musical pieces. Before the service, Don Saliers let Sarah know to just let Caroline start crawling around if his part of the service started getting too boring, but we didn't need to let that happen.

Over the course of the week, Caroline has been sleeping for longer and longer stretches, both in her crib and through the night. There have been a couple of mornings where we've been able to start our days and let her keep sleeping!

On the down side, we did make a trip to the pediatrician for a mild case of thrush (yeast/rash). We got a LOT of very good and very helpful advice from a LOT of people (thank you, all!) before the visit, and we felt very good about the doc's approach to and treatment of the situation. The rash has already cleared up quite a bit.

Caroline received a children's book from Great-Grandma Fontaine (who will, at her request, be officially referred to as "GG" from now on). The book was written by the son of one of the people who works where GG lives. A cute story about a bee looking for his bzzz, it is a great addition to the wonderfully varied library Caroline is amassing.

Caroline is doing a lot more close imitating of the sounds she hears, even seeming to echo words that haven't just been spoken. She also continues to explore further her world, actively looking out the back windows and intently watching the back yard, trying to peek over more and more ledges and low surfaces, and rooting through boxes and baskets with more organized intent. She's also discovered that she can control when music plays on one of her crib mobile bases via the buttons on it. She is very pleased with herself each time she does it, and quite justifiably so!

She's also learning to throw things. At first, she'd grab and hold on to something (usually a ball) and wave it up and down repeatedly until finally letting it go. But she's developing her technique, and tonight she was tossing some rings and being pretty consistent about tossing them away from her.

And she's up to almost three full seconds and standing on her own. No walking yet, but it looked like she almost tried to take a step while standing once tonight.

And we'll post a picture this weekend with another of her developments from this week. So do check back in soon!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Finally, 40 week pics

Exploring the Great Room on a Sunday afternoon...

Mmm... Lentils and sweet potatoes and carrots and onions, oh my! (This weekend she's been trying a new dish with quinoa, tomato, onion, broth... and something else! She likes it! She is such a good eater!)

In a pinafore that used to be worn by Great Aunt Sherry- I think! She likes rocking on this foot rest (with our support obviously!)

Caroline is fond of escaping as soon as she's completely naked. I don't know how many times this week I've seen her little naked butt scrambling away from me. I tried to get a shot one night... this funny series (a longer one actually, this is just a sampling) was the result. I hope no one is offended by naked babies. Just. too. cute.

Friday, September 11, 2009

40 weeks old!

40 weeks! Now she's been out of me as long as she was in me!

The last few days the most impressive thing about Caroline (other than her glorious existence) has been the way her babbling has developed. She often sounds like Elmer Fudd to me, She is playing with sounds in fascinating ways! I wish I had a video or a sound clip to share, but I don't. Lots of v's and b's and g's and of course lots of D's. (During this post the best string of syllables was L based, it almost sounded like Lori, Lori, Lori- with a bit of a flip on the R. It is hard to transcribe her speech!)

As I began to write this Caroline was nursing on and off. This is a bit of a ritual these days. When I come home from a long day away she typically nurses pretty quickly. She's not always that hungry, but it seems important for reconnecting. The neighbor girls are over for the first time since Caroline's fall when they were playing with her. Apparently the older sister, Destiny, has only held her so far on the couch. She's nervous. Poor girl. But Destiny is happily playing on Kevin's computer... I think this may be a major motivation for their visits!

Kev shared that Caroline stood on her own for a full second today. I watched her pull up on the hassock and reach over to a round table in our living room, pivot and move herself there just a few moments ago. She doesn't do that much cruising around me, so that was exciting to see.

Caroline had her 9 month appt this past Tuesday. The day before Kev was commenting on much further she can reach now and I have been thinking that she seems awfully tall. Well! She is! She has grown a lot in the past three months. She is now 18 pounds, 14 oz (back into the 50th percentile) and 28 and a half inches which puts her into the 80th percentile, the highest she's been since birth. And head circumference- back to the 90th percentile (where she started) 46 cm. Woohoo! It felt like her weight gain slowed dramatically between 6 and 8 months, but in the last month she's packed it on!

In the last 10 minutes or so Caroline has been doing her bear crawl back and forth across the length of our great room- between mommy on the couch and daddy in the kitchen. She is crawling aggressively, and rapidly. She slaps her hands loudly on the floor with each move! She just pulled herself up on the piano and played the piano a bit with one hand and then used her other hand to pull papers of the piano bench.

It is AMAZING to watch her grow and develop. This is a really fun stage.

(Her sleeping though has been miserable. But hey, what's new? I don't know if we've let her get into bad habits or if she's working hard on new teeth... Sigh.)

Pics to follow...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

9 months old!

And we didn't get a pic today...

Maybe because I'm the one who more frequently thinks to take the pictures...

And I spent the day grading papers for the first time in this context. I know now what one of my college professors meant when he said any day on which was grading dark, dark clouds hung over his head.

Caroline was quite wired for most of the day. At dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant tonight she delighted in tearing napkins into shreds!

Happy 9 months baby! May you grow up to write better first papers than most! And may I not spend too many of these precious early hours not present to you... sigh. At least I was home and got to nurse you several times throughout the day.

Off to read heavy-going philosophy before bed...

Friday, September 4, 2009

39 weeks! So. Many. Pictures.

These first few pics are from last week. Caroline LOVES to play the piano! She has taken to pulling up on the piano and reaching to bang away while standing. We don't have any pics of that... but these will do! Great video from this day too... we'll see if it will load after I get everything else posted!

More pics from last week... From the airport and flight... EARLY Friday morning... she was SUCH a good traveller!

And all dressed up for the rehearsal dinner- thanks to cousins Peter and Jennifer for this adorable outfit that has been tempting me in her closet for months!

Fun in our cabin (and a bit of Buber reading!) Caroline LOVES to be held upside down! Our little monkey...

Just one shot from the wedding itself. The rest didn't really come out. And this one isn't great. She looked so pretty! The wedding was AMAZING. It may well have been the coolest wedding ever! The happy, generous couple hired a sitter to watch Caroline during the ceremony and reception. The plan was to get her all dressed up and bring her out for the cocktail hour, but of course she was sound asleep at the cocktail time! She hung out in the tent for a bit of the dinner though! She gave her sitter a bit of a rough time, I'm afraid. But both survived...

The trip home from the wedding was pretty special. First we went to visit Kev's Great Aunt Betsy who recently celebrated her 97th birthday! She looks WONDERFUL and was a most gracious hostess. We hadn't seen her since her 90th birthday and we had a lovely visit. Caroline was in a great mood. She had fun crawling around under her kitchen table... and... chewing on Great Aunt Betsy's shoes, she actually bit off a tassle! That was a bit embarrassing. But... Betsy took it in stride. We're so glad we had some time with her and so grateful for her wonderful hospitality.

And then we met up with Mamie, Grandpa, and Uncle Daniel at the home of a high school friend of my dad. It was the first time Grandpa and Uncle Daniel saw Caroline since she was 3 weeks old! Mamie brought coneys (white hot dogs famous in Central New York) and a homemade flourless chocolate cake. Yummy! Twas a short visit, but lovely. We're hoping to get home for a longer visit at Christmas. Don't you just love the gorgeous dress Mamie made for Caroline?

I celebrated my 33rd birthday this week! We had friends over a day early. Kev made a delicious dinner and a MARVELOUS cake. And he got Caroline all dressed up!

Phew! Enough pics for you?!

Just a few updates that aren't reflected in the pics...

Caroline has discovered that it is great fun to pull wet clothes out of the dryer just as soon as daddy puts them in.

Apparently she went on a bit of a rampage today... getting into everything in a rather destructive way... just wait until she's walking! Aie.

Forgive me for mentioning it, but her bowels are moving MUCH more frequently now that she is eating solids... and she makes the funniest faces when they do...

Caroline was dubbed the cutest baby at the wedding (by some folks...) and lots of folks, apparently, were cooing over her when daddy took her grocery shopping today.

OH, the biggest news of all... last Sunday as we drove to Albany from Mass, I watched Caroline teach herself how to clap! It was incredible. She held her hands a bit apart, then looked at them intensely, then she slowly brought them together, and looked very pleased with herself. At first her hands made no noise, and then she brought them together faster and faster... and was THRILLED with the results. She's been clapping on and off all week. We have a video... but... not sure if we'll get it up tonight or not.