Sunday, June 20, 2010


Caroline is perfecting the art of licking. While she likes bread just fine, and bananas even finer... what she likes most of all is... peanut butter. And she will open a sandwich the moment she gets it and commence to linking out its contents... or will lick off a banana only, in both cases, to hand the bread or the banana back and say "more."

The other night she was enjoying her homemade saag paneer (spinach and cheese), one of her favorite dinners, but then lost interest before eating very much. I was a bit hungry yet so I got myself a banana and peanut butter for a supplemental snack. She assertively let us know that she wanted some. She had too much banana already that day so we encouraged her to eat more of her dinner. We then put just a bit of peanut butter on top of a big spoonful of saag paneer and she eagerly gulped it down. This worked for three or four spoonfuls, but then she slowed down and realized that if she were very careful she could eat JUST the peanut butter and so commenced delicate licking. Not sure how she got that sticky peanut butter off the squishy spinach and cheese, but she did so...

And as I type this she's licking/sucking an apple juice popsicle. She can polish off a whole popsicle on her own now!

Best. Daddy. Ever.

Truly, Caroline Grace is blessed with an amazing daddy. I got into a conversation with a mama at the pool the other day. She is a stay-at-home mom and feels this is very well suited to her. She says her husband is a fabulous daddy, totally a partner, very present when he is home. I believe her! Their son, Sam, is one content, well-adjusted 13 month old! She and I got talking about different temperaments being better or worse suited to staying home with kids and I realized for the thousandth time how beautifully suited to primary caregiver duty Kev is. She thought it was fabulous that he is a happy stay-at-home daddy. And I think it is too.

Right now, of course, I'm the primary caregiver... so I feel more acutely what it means that he does this most of the year. He makes it seem so easy...

No one can make C laugh the way he can... he frequently takes her back to our room if I'm trying to get something done in the kitchen or great room, or if I just want/need space and I hear rolling laughter from the back of the house. He is able to be silly, silly, silly... and present... and she LOVES this.

But no one can correct C the way he can... he is much better at keeping a straight face than I am, and has just the right amount of edge in his voice without yelling. C needs this.

And no one can cook for C (and me!) the way he can... we are so lucky.

And no one can write better lullabies than he can... C and many other babies have been so blessed by his personalized lullabies.

He reports that when I am gone all day she starts asking for mommy at some point in the afternoon and keeps it up until I get home. Well... it took a few weeks, but she started doing the same for him... and at some point this week she started asking for daddy in the morning... and kept it up all day. She loves her daddy!

Last night before dinner she was nursing a bit and started signing daddy. I asked her "What about daddy?" And she picked up her feet. "Daddy has feet?" I asked. She smiled without breaking her latch and then put her feet to her nose and scrunched her nose up as if she were smelling something stinky. "Daddy has smelly feet?" I asked. And she giggled and kept nursing. I relayed this to Kevin and he said that whenever they read "Grumpy Frumpy, Happy Snappy" and get to the stinky feet page she puts a foot to her nose and makes a p.u. face and he always asks, "What about daddy? Does daddy have stinky feet?" And she ignores him... one never knows when an answer will come!

We love you, Kev. And we're so grateful for you. Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Just because I want to remember

Sweet C is growing and developing so quickly... I left so much out of the last update... I don't want to do the same in a few weeks... so... several bullets of recent moments we want to remember... not everything of course... but what comes to me in these few minutes...

  • Caroline rode on a carousel for the first time late last month. She was at the mall with me and was pining after it. So when daddy arrived to pick us up, we gave it a whirl... and SHE LOVED IT. Minor meltdown when we insisted it was time to move on...

  • At a more recent mall trip with C she discovered escalators... oh my goodness... i think we could have spent all day going up and down them. Maybe I'll remember that for a rainy day. Never did make it to the play area at that mall... but that was for a lot of reasons. Who needs a play area?

  • C is entertaining herself for longer and longer stretches now. The other day she spent a long time playing with her baby doll. First with my help, dressing her in a onesie she has outgrown and putting socks on and taking them off (alleluia for a good use for socks without matches!) and then trying to get the baby to sleep. Apparently her baby is as sleep resistant as she is because she spent a good long while in our big, red chair covering the baby up with a cloth diaper and shushing it. She'd lay her head down next to the baby to show her how to sleep. She herself was ready for a nap, but not yet ready to succumb. I was very happy to let this play continue. I watched as she treated the doll in gentle and loving ways and felt quietly affirmed. Of course just yesterday she aggressively threw the doll to the floor... so I know not to put too much weight on it! We haven't ever done that!

  • She has started making sound effects. For example, last night she was enjoying dropping a piece of orange onto her tray again and again and each time she'd drop it she'd say something like "Plop!" in a high pitched voice. We have video...

  • We are making major strides in potty training though we're not really trying. She uses the potty several times a day, usually productively, usually at her request. If you follow me on facebook then you know that she has discovered that asking to go potty, and signing for it, and punctuating this with "POO!" is a GREAT stall technique... She's already faking us out in order to get out bedtime or whatever other activity she's not interested in! At 18 months? Lord have mercy. I'm grateful for the suggestions on facebook that this suggests she is very smart. We are already discerning between true and false potty requests, but we mostly honor them... want to reinforce the positive behavior. Less diapers... good thing.

  • For the past week or so, bathtime has been a battle with C most nights, a battle that Kev wages. But two nights ago she had a blast in the bath once more... and even laid down on her tummy and kicked her legs. Sweet! Because we had plans to join Sam, Ethan, and Fiona and Sam's mom at the pool at her apartment complex the next day. She has only been in a pool one other time, at about 7 months. She LOVED it. Wanted me to let her go. Right, not happening. Though late in our time there I was letting her sit next to me on one of the steps and she scooted under a bar too low for me. I quickly walked around it just as she slipped and went totally under. With my help she was quickly back up... The verdict? Not a peep, a squeal, nothing. Well, a little sputtering, and a look of confusion. She asked to get out of the pool a minute or so later so we thought maybe she was spooked, but then wanted back in right away. This is great as we're headed to Florida for a family reunion next week and the pool is where we'll want to be... not so sure about the gulf coast beach... but the pool definitely! Time to buy some pool toys and safety accoutrements!

Friends, she is a wonder. Our hearts swell with pride.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

18 months plus one day! The fullest post I can muster...

It seems we are in a very exciting developmental stage. New words, new abilities seem to be erupting from C daily. While here in Portland she's become fascinated with spices... she stacked several different types of spice containers five high the other night when I wasn't looking. My goodness! The dexterity! Daddy reports that she did something similar with canned goods not long ago, though spice containers (tall ones at that) requires a bit more fine motor ability. We can't get her to stack blocks or other stacking toys... but she'll stack! She loves to draw and on the flight here she had great fun with the beads and playdough that I brought along at Desert Mama's recommendation. She played with the beads on a string for awhile, but eventually she had fun planting the beads in the playdough, or putting them in the small film canisters in which the playdough had been housed. So curious... She continues to love books. She will often spend a great deal of time flipping through books.

She had her first ear infection ever this past month... and has continued to struggle on and off with slowly descending or ascending canines. The top ones have broken through and Kev finds how sharp they are to be terrifying. Poor dear! Her sleeping was much improved for awhile, but these developments have made for some rough nights.

That said... she has traveled beautifully. There were moments on our trip out here that were trying, but after about 20-30 on each flight minutes she'd settle in and stop trying to get off my lap. We didn't have any meltdowns on the flights and she took a nap on both flights. I was thinking the trip out would be harder than the trip back (which is a red-eye through houston tomorrow, night, but now I'm wondering...)

In any case, our girl is a wonder! I'm sure I've forgotten several important things I should share, but this is all I've got for now. After consulting with Kev when we get home I may have a supplemental post.

Before a host of pictures from the last month... a few from today. While Caroline stayed home with Aunt Katherine as the rest of us went to church they spent much of the time sniffing and dumping spices. She has cinnamon on her nose in several of these shots. Katherine also got her to drink half a cup of chamomile tea. And then to take a nap!

Hissing when the snake jumps out of the book! Way back on her 17 month birthday!

C loves to "talk" on the phone... when no one is on the other end... she now says "call?" and tries to take cell phones from people. Here, at least, she's playing with a old, dead phone! Usually such phones are TOTALLY unattractive. Now getting her to talk on the phone for real... sometimes challenging... especially now that she's figured out how to hang up our cell phones!

Here are several shots from Mother's Day. We went to the zoo after church and she had a great time playing in the play area there. This has been a favorite spot this past month. Not on this occasion, but on one other I briefly lost C in this play area. She was enamored of a slightly larger girl and took off after her while I was gathering a shoe she had lost (she seems to have mommy's feet, one bigger than the other, so one shoe frequently drops off...) Scary moment. But a mama of another Caroline (just a bit older than mine) helped me look and we found her quickly. Phew.

A crazy story from the zoo... the last time we went we met a few other mama's and kids. One of these mamas had a census bag and as Kev is working for the census I struck up a conversation with her. Well... who did we run into at the airport in Nashville a week or so later? That mama and her whole family. And where were they going? Portland, Oregon. And why? To visit a sister! We were on both flights together. They were super helpful on the first flight. I prayed for friendly traveling companions. This was a real treat! Unfortunately they're coming home a day after us.

Caroline LOVES to be outside. She's taken to asking for shoes or a hat and as soon as she gets either on she said "SIDE!" meaning "outside!" She is fond of sitting in the grass and picking clover or picking up small stones. She still REALLY loves dogs. Here are two from our backyard... interacting with the neighbor dog to whom she kept trying to feed grass.

Speaking of dogs... C has been in her glory here in Portland. My sister's housemate and LONG time friend, Maya, has a great big dog named Lola. This dog absolutely delights C and is quite taken with all the attention she's getting from C. I don't think we've gotten a pic of them together. Will try to do that before we leave.

Caroline is picking up words left and right. One of her favorite words at the moment is "Yellow" which sometimes sounds like "Yeyo", but sometimes sounds a heck of a lot like "yellow." She sometimes uses this word for yellow things... but she also uses it for several other things. She has discovered that it is fun to type and when she sees my computer and wants to type she says "Yellow!" repeatedly. So we make the font yellow to reinforce that yellow is a color! Here she is typing.

C continues to get together with her friend Fiona a few times a week. Now it is my turn to swap childcare with Fiona's mom, Sam. They enjoyed sitting on the piano bench coloring together on the day these pics were taken. This is actually one of C's favorite pass times at the moment, and her favorite spot for engaging in it. They were coloring happily in this rather precarious spot for at least 10 minutes. They seemed quite secure and focused. So I picked up a book that needed to be returned to my office, not too far away... and took it there.... only to here a thump and a wail. C fell off backwards and hit her head. She's fine! But I learned my lesson... I hope.

Just a purty one... isn't she gorgeous?

A sleepy Sunday afternoon with daddy. She took LOTS of naps on that particular day. Daddy was up late with her that night.

And a nap on Mamie here in Portland.

Caroline has been making friends wherever she goes on this trip. I've been pretty lousy about getting pics (wish I had some with the little boy with whom she was clearly enamored at the nashville airport!) But I did manage to get a few pics on one particular occasion. We met my friend Katy for lunch, pictured pushing her in the swing below (thanks K for driving down from Seattle to see us!), and a little girl at the restaurant became pals with C quite quickly. C initially tried to steal tip money out of her hand which didn't go over so well. They took turns playing hard to get with each other. It was quite entertaining really. This pic was taken with her new friend, Lucia, just before we left.

We have visited several playgrounds while here in Oregon and C has gotten mud-covered repeatedly! At this particular playground she really discovered the joy of sliding. She went down a low, toddler friendly slide several times and then with Aunt Katherine's help was introduced to a big slide. After going down this big slide with Aunt Katherine (whom she calls Aunt Khaki) once, she climbed back up, took one look at the toddler slide, and then kept climbing and zipped down all on her own. She REALLY wanted a piece of the tire swing! Uh... not yet! Fearless, our girl, fearless.

And now several shots from her 18 month birthday which also happened to be Mamie and Grandpa's 39th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, Mamie and Grandpa! We drove up to Lacey, Washington to see my Great Aunt Isabelle. This is the second great great aunt that Caroline has met. Caroline's great great aunt Betsy died just recently. We remember her with gratitude and love. Great Aunt Isabelle is 87 years old. After her husband died she moved out to Washington to be closer to her daughter. She moved into a retirement community where she met Clancy, three years her senior. They just celebrated their 7 year anniversary. So sweet.

The first several shots are all with Aunt Katherine (Khaki!) We came out here to celebrate her graduation from midwifery school. Though Aunt Khaki has attended over 70 births, Caroline is the only baby at whose birth Katherine was present that was able to attend her graduation. She slept right through it, which was merciful as it was a lovely ceremony that i likely would have missed had she been awake and as wired as she had been all day long! I think she was preparing herself for the night! In any case, we are SO proud of Aunt Khaki. She is an amazing midwife and she is going to be a blessing to so many. C warmed up to Aunt Khaki quite quickly. She stayed home from church with her today and had a great time. Katherine says it is because she looks and sounds just similar enough to mommy, and because she spent SO much time with her in her first three weeks... perhaps... or perhaps she just has a gift... she definitely has a gift with babies.

A group shot with everyone present at lunch yesterday. C was not in the mood for photo taking! And my favorite shot with Great Aunt Isabelle. A bit fuzzy, but... sweet.

And now several solo shots from her 18 month bday!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

18 months!

And no post... yet...

A rich one with lots of pics is coming... I promise.

But in most of the country the day has past.

And so I'm letting it go for now.

In Oregon with the fam.

A year and a half ago... a year and a half. Wow.