Monday, November 30, 2009

Remembering That Monday...

As I sat through a three hour afternoon seminar this Monday afternoon, I remembered being physically though not mentally present for a three hour seminar that Monday afternoon a year ago... thinking of all that yet needed to get done... wondering when our little one would come...

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I'm finding it trippy to think back. All year we've been celebrating Caroline's birth every Friday as she entered the world at long last in the wee hours of Friday, December 5th. But, of course, we're one day later this year. But I have distinct Sunday before she was born memories, Monday before she was born, etc. etc.

So today I'm remembering that first Sunday in Advent a year ago... when my belly dropped and Caroline's head engaged, when Jonathan and Tish joined us for an Advent Supper of Turkey Pot Pie and Tish placed a perfect alto line in "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" which convinced me she needed to be at the birth.

My thoughts at the beginning of that Sunday are recorded here.

In my mind Caroline's birth story most officially started a year ago today, first Sunday of Advent 2008.

I remember. I am grateful.

Friday, November 27, 2009

51 weeks!

Ready for a crazy long post with TOO MANY PICTURES? Here goes...

Well... we're wrapping up our week away. Cousins Caroline and Elliott are sound asleep. Aunt Janet, Uncle Doug, Uncle Kevin and Aunt Sarah are sitting around sipping libations, chatting, working on crossword puzzles (the major adult occupation of those actually vacationing this week), and updating the blog. Pa and Eepa (that is what Elliott has turned "abuelita" into- and that is how eepa wants it spelled) left this morning for their two day drive home to Michigan. It has been a good week. I have mostly been holed up studying, but all the rest of the clan has gotten lots of good socializing in. Caroline has been fascinated with her only cousin who is 2 and a half (and most worthy of fascination! He is an AMAZING little boy!) There were moments when it seemed he was more annoyed with her than anything else, moments that appeared like unrequited love (quite normal for their age span and their lack of familiarity it seemed to me), but there have been some very sweet moments between them and very few, if any, truly difficult moments. I'm so grateful for all the time they had together.

Before I post the MANY pictures I have to share a few highlights... Caroline seems to be having a mini-language explosion. She's been doing lots of echoing of sounds and she definitely is saying "Bye" and waving. It seems she is also saying "hi" upon greeting, but the bye is more definite. It has frequently seemed this week that she says something like "Sarah" when she sees me. No "mommy", but perhaps "Sarah". Funny. She definitely seems to be saying "What's this?" "What's that?" And this week picked up the "UH" of "Uh-oh", but doesn't have the "Oh" yet. Something gets dropped and she says "Uh, uh, uh, uh..." At times Elliott would be babbling at one end of the table and Caroline would almost precisely echo the sounds he was making. Very exciting.

We thought she'd be walking by the end of the week, but she may have scared herself out of progress. One evening she stood up and saw her reflection in a glass door leading to a darkened room. She started crying and walking towards it. We had been counting her steps in the previous hour. She had progressed from the 4 total steps she had ever taken before to seven. And Eepa started counting as she cried and walked.... and she got to 17 or something... nobody could bear to stop her, but as she got closer and closer to her image she cried harder and harder. She was spooked. And for days after she only walked one or two steps at a time. But apparently she got up to seven again today. Eventually it will happen.

Alright, pics and some stories interspersed...

Kev played at a church Sunday morning, then we packed up and hit the road Sunday afternoon. Caroline slept for the first two hours of the 5 plus hour drive. The next three hours took some work to keep her content... we changed a messy diaper on the side of the road in the dark... I showed her pics of herself on my iPod... we survived... and arrived at this cabin in the mountains to a very excited aunt and uncle and pa and eepa, cousin elliott was sleeping soundly. Here are a few pics of Caroline as we were loading up the car and getting ready to go.

While I was studying this week lots of walks and hikes were taken. Here are several beautiful shots from one hike with everyone but me.

Isn't Elliott gorgeous?!

And here is one of the sweet moments with the cousins. Caroline's first high five!

Elliott is VERY fond of trains, largely thanks to Thomas. This town closest to where we're staying has a Polar Express Train Ride. And Pa and Eepa purchased tickets for all of us to take this ride on Tuesday night. There could have been nothing more exciting for Elliott. He didn't need any special treats, just the train ride. But there were special treats. This is how I wrote it up for my mom in an e-mail. "all the kids in the train were in pj's, the people working the train were in chef's gear (like in the book). the soundtrack for the polar express was playing when we got on. they served hot chocolate and chocolate/marshmallow santas. they played a recording of the polar express story and the people working walked up and down with the pictures from the book. and then we arrived at "the north pole"- a small town all decked out in lights, saw santa through the window. then the train turned around and we passed santa's spot and he wasn't there anymore. they passed out songbooks and we were told we had to sing santa to us. so we sang christmas carols until santa arrived. elliott flipped out when everyone started singing- really upset- too loud, i think. santa entered the car at our end and greeted elliott first. elliott asked for 1 piece of chcolate for christmas. (we think he was saying "i had a chocolate santa" and santa said "oh you want chocolate?" and he said "yes" and then santa said "how much?" and he said "1" and held up one finger). And then santa gave elliott a silver bell. Santa asked if he could hold Caroline and we said "sure", but she was not amused. she's not letting anyone else hold her right now. janet would LOVE to and she's definitely warming up to janet, but still... only mommy and daddy can hold her. santa gave caroline a silver bell too. she did pretty well on the ride. i had to nurse her on and off, but she had some happy, jumpy moments."

Here some of us are, waiting for the train...

Several early on the train shots... Caroline pulverized Kev's chocolate santa and had great fun doing so. Elliott was so exciting.

Later on the train shots...

Some random shots...

Whole bunch of shots from Thanksgiving Day...

Some close ups of C...

Silly times with mommy. We read LOTS of books this week. Elliott is REALLY into books and it was exciting to him to have Caroline's bin of books to go through in addition to his own.

We spent much of the week taking turns blocking the stairs in the cabin. Whenever she saw an opening she'd scurry over to them. We'd let Caroline climb the two solid stairs to the landing but would sit on the bottom step of the tall flight of stairs which had no backing and beneath which was stone onto which she would have had a painful fall. Here are two shots of her being thwarted in her stair climbing aspirations.

Some close cousin time...

Two shots from the dinner table. Caroline did have her first bites of meat- yummy turkey. The first two she took fine. But then was less interested as shot two evidences.

And playing with Aunt Janet before bed...

And finally several from today... Caroline's first trip to a playground and first ride in a swing!

Phew... Still reading? A week from today... a week from today... the gift was finally given.

Friday, November 20, 2009

50 weeks!!!!!

Oh my goodness! 50 weeks! There will be lots of memories these next two weeks... A year ago, two days from now, Aunt Katherine arrived which meant Caroline could then come at any time as far as I was concerned, because that same day I finished my papers! Of course I hoped we'd get a nursery ready, and the house cleaned, etc. Some of that got accomplished. Good friends Rebecca, Josh, and Owen came a few days before Thanksgiving and helped tons! I have memories of food, and smells, and moments... 50 weeks. My goodness.

Anyhow... updates...

  • Caroline had her first bits of cookie this week. I made some molasses ginger snaps (adapted the recipe to be wheat free and used organic- less refined- sugar). And I let Caroline have a few bits. She LOVED them. At one point she was quite upset, got a bit of cookie and calmed RIGHT down. Uh oh. Let the sugar addiction begin. After birthday cake she'll be a goner!
  • I keep forgetting to put on here that Caroline has started passing off objects quite eagerly, or really, passing objects back and forth quite eagerly for awhile now. I know that babies do this and I wondered when she would start and she finally did a few weeks go.
  • She frequently makes vocalizes something that sounds like "What's this?" or "What's that?" Which we echo and answer.
  • She often makes a syllable starting with an "h" when greeting and starting with a "b" when waving goodbye.
  • She's up to four steps at a time now. She stands so confidently and steps so steadily. She just needs to decide she can walk.

We're gearing up for a trip to the mountains to spend a week with Pa and Abuelita and Aunt Janet and Uncle Doug and Cousin Elliott. I will be doing a lot of research while there (I hope!) Janet will likely be doing a lot of work too. Kev, Doug, Pa and Abuelita will be spending lots of quality time with Elliott and Caroline. It will be Caroline's longest car ride yet. And her first time meeting her cousin! We think she'll eat meat for the first time as well, on turkey day!

Surely there will be much more to report next week! Maybe pics later this weekend...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another Pretty Dress, Playtime, and Cooking With Daddy- Pics from the 49th week

Mommy took off her pretty red suit just as soon as she got home from preaching last Sunday, but Caroline kept this dress daddy found in the closet on for most of the day. So pretty. One of the grandmothers from congregation number 1 saw us before church and said "Please tell me mommy doesn't have time for smocking!" To which I rapidly replied "No! Neither time nor ability!" Thank you to whomever sent along the lovely smocking.

Caroline was very interested in the toys. Jo An was very interested in Caroline. They spent a lot of time side by side at the toy bin.

Caroline did pay some attention to Jo An, especially when she had a particularly interesting toy in hand.

Even if that toy was just an old orange juice container.

And just a few more. Gorgeous girls...

And, I guess it was a busy week because we took all those pics Sunday... and just a few more yesterday... Caroline was on Kev's hip as he was doing some cooking and the light was so lovely I tried to capture a few. I didn't quite get it, but... nonetheless... you get the idea.

And last night... no pics, but we SO wish we had brought the camera. We went to our favorite Mexican restaurant and Caroline was drinking out of straw like a champ (I just taught her that yesterday morning! It took her a total of a minute to learn.) And then keeping a straw in her mouth like a cigar. Too cute. And then, shortly before we left, an adorable almost four year little girl named Ava came over to see the baby. Ava has Down's Syndrome and thus less inhibitions than some kids. And she just stood there and interacted with Caroline for almost 10 minutes. And Caroline LOVED her. She was waving and reaching out... so excited. And of course we didn't bring the camera.