Monday, May 31, 2010

An early birthday present

You know how you sometimes muse aloud about how nice it would be if "X" happened?  My "X" scenario was the following:

What I wouldn't give to just spend one night, ALONE, in a hotel with a king sized bed, a glass of wine and room service.  To sleep, uninterrupted, the whole night.  And then maybe wake up and have a massage.  Wouldn't that just be lovely?

On Saturday I found myself in my dream scenario, only better, all arranged by Len.  He drove me to River East Theatres where I caught two movies,  Babies and SATC.   Meanwhile, Len dropped off my bag at a hotel not too far away.  After my double feature, I took a cab to my luxury suite, ordered room service (salad, parmesan-crusted tilapia, potatoes, steamed veggies, fudge brownie cake with raspberry sauce), had some wine and lounged in my king sized bed, alone, and then slept, uninterrupted, the entire night.  I woke up to breakfast in bed (french toast, fruit, bacon, grapefruit juice and coffee).  After checking out I headed over to this spa where Len had arranged a massage, facial and mani/pedi for me. 

I spent a blissful 24 hours away from home and returned refreshed and smelling most decidedly un-milky. Meanwhile, Len and Kate spent their first 24 hours alone together and seemed none the worse-for-wear.  

What a fabulous birthday present, no?  I think he's a keeper.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hokey Pokey

Kate had her first laugh-out-loud moment.  She has smiled and gurgled up to this point but we've never gotten a full-out laugh until now.  Guess all it takes is for mama to be silly.  A special shout-out to YiaYia and Papou for the kid's jazz cd we're listening to.

A couple of caveats before watching the video:
I was eating an apple while singing which is why you get a lot of humming over the words (got to set a good example by not talking with my mouth full right?).  Also, I got her right and left feet mixed up--it's because I wasn't facing west (which is a story for another time).   And finally, no judgment on the singing voice...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Would you like a raspberry with your drool?

Kate is practicing blowing raspberries in-between practicing her screaming technique.  She has the screaming down better than the raspberries at this point.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Pictures!

It's Friday and time for some new pictures of our girl!  Enjoy!  Here she is in a cute outfit our nephew's girlfriend, Jen, bought for her.
She's almost big enough to enjoy the exercauser that Kelly and Tony sent.
I'm teaching her early how to wash dishes!
And after dishes she watched me eat lunch.  She's not really showing any signs of being interested in our food just yet so we're planning to wait until she's about 6 months old before starting her on that road.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Summer has arrived!

Summer is finally here in Chicago! Yesterday was an absolutely glorious day.  We had planned to stroll to the beach in the morning after Kate's nap but Kate had other plans, starting with not taking a nap. After a 2 hour battle (Kate 1, Parents 0), we loaded her in the stroller and headed out. Halfway to the beach, the stroller worked its magic and Kate was out (Kate 1, Parents via Stroller 1) and we ate our lunch under a shady tree on the lakefront.
I couldn't resist the cotton candy man and had to relieve him of some of his load.
Kate awoke fairly happy and hungry so we had a snack and then lots of playtime.  We spent most of the afternoon under the tree near the water.  We were so happy yet again with our decision to live near the lake as the parking lot and street were jammed with cars all circling for a spot.  And they added meter parking this year so double bonus for us!
Before Kate could hit the sleeping wall we took her down to the beach for her first toes-in-sand moment.  She seemed to like it and garnered lots of attention with her sunglasses and hat!
 After another stroll (and another 1 hour nap--Kate 1, Parents via Stroller 2) walking past all the cars still circling (and with the help of the police officer now there directing traffic) we stopped at the Vietnamese noodle house for bubble tea and headed on home. 
Chicago really is quite lovely in the summertime!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Moistness vs Dampness

One of the things that should be mentioned to anyone about to have a baby is the amazing amount of dampness you will be required to live with.  Now I'm all for moisture.  I have been known as the Emollient Queen in some circles.  But there is a vast chasm of difference between moistness and dampness.

Moisture is more edifying.  It lifts you up, makes you feel creamy and smooth, enriching your skin and, if lucky, making you smell yummy to boot.

Dampness, on the other hand, feels clammy and was probably not applied by your own volition.  More than likely it will smell like sour milk and will turn crusty as it dries.

Such is life with an infant.  I just thought you should know since I have yet to read in any of the baby instruction manuals--

You will be damp, and not in a good way, for several years.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Kate stats

We had Kate's four month checkup today.  Here are her new stats:

12lbs 8oz (was 10lb 2oz on 4/7/10)
23 1/2" long (was 22 3/4")
39cm head diam. (was 36 1/2cm)
Our little peanut is growing like a weed!  Her next checkup will be at 6 months where she will receive her first vaccination shot.  Will she be too young for a lollipop afterwards?  Maybe I could do a breastmilk popsicle for her!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Charity Walk for Midwives and other weekend events

Nancy, who was our doula, is also studying to be a midwife. She was integral to organizing the first annual Walk for Midwives to support the fight for the licensure of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in Illinois. Kate had the easiest part of the trek as she slept for the entire 5k walk.
Of course, after all that hard work sleeping, she needed to eat which provided yet another opportunity for me to feed her in an interesting location.
 Here she is with her daddy after her snack.
 Then it was off to a cafe to feed the adults.
The other big event on Sunday was that a good friend who is adopting from Nepal got her TA last week and left for Kathmandu!  She received her referral for her daughter in March and is finally on her way to meet her and bring her home. 

Otherwise, Saturday was fairly low-key.  I managed to get some flowers planted on our deck and on the front railings so it's looking a bit more cheerful around here.  We tried out a Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood Saturday night.  It was yummy but jam-packed and quite noisy.  I'm amazed that Kate slept through most of the evening.  I think, though, that our evening dinners out are coming to an end for the while.  Kate's bedtime is inching backwards (we had her in bed by 7:30 last night) and if we stay out late, she falls asleep in her stroller but then has a really hard time with the transition into bed and has more trouble staying asleep through the night.  I think it's mostly because she is getting used to her bedtime routine (bath, jammies, feeding, love from daddy and into bed) and going out really screws that up.

She popped awake this weekend at 3am and no amount of quiet shushing, nursing or rocking would put her back down.  She was just smiling and cooing, ready for the day.  Len finally got up with her at 4am and she didn't go back down until 6.  Such is life with an infant.

We have our 4 month checkup with the pediatrician tomorrow.  It will be interesting to see how much she has grown!  She is holding her head up a lot more on tummy time and drooling so much she's getting a rash under one of her many chins.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I always wanted a dolphin!

Flipper was quite popular when I was little and along with dreaming about having a horse like Black Beauty, I also wanted a dolphin like Flipper. Looks like my child might be fulfilling that fantasy--her new vocabulary sounds remarkably like a dolphin. Now if she starts whinnying...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Love Letter, Month 4

Dear Kate,

You are four months old today. You are changing so fast that I wish I could DVR you, press pause, and replay you over and over again so that I don’t miss anything. Kinda like I do with episodes of Gossip Girl when your father is making funny comments

Xoxo...Gossip Girl

and I can’t hear what they’re saying.

Each stage you go through is more exciting than the last one as you become more aware of all the cool stuff around you. It makes me happy but wistful at the same time because I know you are most likely my only infant.

You are blowing bubbles now which I supposed was an inevitable development as you were trying to figure out what to do with all that drool. Where did you learn to drool like that? We could water the lawn for the summer with all the drool that seeps out of your mouth on a daily basis.

The discovery of your hands has led to the insertion of both of them, at the same time, into your mouth. You LOVE your hands and have become particularly partial to your right thumb. You are using that thumb to help you ease into sleep now and your sleeping face with your thumb jammed into your mouth and up to your wrist is just too delicious for words. I have lost whole hours just watching you sleep, your mouth curving into a smile around your thumb.

For the first time this month, you grabbed one of your toys and popped it right into your mouth as if you had been doing that all along. Then you started waving the toy around like a music conductor. Unfortunately it wasn’t one of your softer toys (it was the wooden toy that looks like a DNA molecule), so when you bonked yourself in the face a few times you decided you were done with that and went back to your fingers.

This new obsession with your fingers does not end when it is time to feed you. Do you know how much it hurts to have tiny baby fingernails shoved in-between an already raw nipple and a hungry baby mouth? Now you know why mama screams and jerks you off so quickly.

You are becoming such a little person that every day I have to resist the urge to wedge you between two slices of white bread and lather mayonnaise on your head. You are just that yummy. You are so much more fun now that you have graduated from the oozy, poopy larva stage into an actual baby, one that giggles and squeals with delight when I make faces at you. You are mimicking us now by sticking out your tongue and trying your darndest to blow a raspberry. Your tongue is straight out, you brows are furrowed in concentration and you make a humming noise that then surprises you so much that your eyes widen and you look to us as if to say

Is that something?

 This month you also got to meet your Uncle Terry, Aunt Wheez and your cousins Ryan, Nick and Martine in Atlanta. It was your first airplane flight and I must say you were a trooper. The only time you seemed to be in distress was on our descent into Atlanta when your ears started to pop but you quickly started eating and all was well.

What a great month, little one. Every day I fall more in love with you and just when I think it couldn’t get any better, I wake up and discover that I love you even more. A sloppy, love-sick drunk who giggles every time you fart when you stretch.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Heaven help us, she has learned to flirt.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My first Mama's Day--a long time coming

A few days ago I lay down with you as it was time to nurse and I was too tired to sit up straight. It was late afternoon, a warm spring day with the breeze blowing in through the window, the ceiling fan turning lazily. You nursed for a quite some time, more content really just to be nuzzling up than from a need for food. You fell asleep so I moved you farther from me to the middle of the bed so that I could stretch out a bit. You slept that way for 45 minutes while I just stared at your beautiful sleeping baby face. You passed through many stages of sleep quite quickly and it was fascinating to watch the twitches and smiles transition into a deep, open-mouthed sleep.

You started to wake up and you found your thumb and fingers which eased your stress at awakening from such a short nap. A few minutes later you had managed to move your body so that you were right up against me again. You nestled in, snuggling up as close as you could get and fell right back asleep.

As I lay there I couldn’t help but feel a rush of endorphins flood my body. You know how it feels when you walk outside on that first fall day after a long, hot summer? That spring it puts into your step, how everything just feels right that day? That was how I was feeling. And the funny thing is, I feel that way nearly every day just by looking at you.

I don’t think I realized until laying there with you just how chronically unhappy I had become the past several years. You live with the pain of wanting for so long that it just becomes a part of you, your personality slowly transformed until you wake up one day and wonder “What in the hell happened to me? How did I become this person?” Infertility treatments, a stressful job, an agonizingly slow adoption process all combined to turn me into someone I didn’t even recognize anymore.

I was reading this article in Parenting magazine. It describes these new physical sensations that I’ve been having since your arrival on the scene. It turns out that you are actually good for me. Sleep deprivation and hurried meals aside, you cause chemical changes in my brain, flooding my body with oxytocin (the equivalent of morphine) every time I cuddle, nurse, massage or play with you. And the good thing is that this bond plays an important part in your development too.

More studies on epigenetics—the study of how environmental factors can physically alter certain genes—is showing how our holding and soothing you helps your nervous system organize and regulate itself which in turn may impact your long-term immune system. I suspect that one of the reasons that “crying it out” is so difficult for parents to do with their children is that it tears at this process. Yes, you do a certain amount of crying when you are fighting sleep but there comes a point when your grunts of displeasure turn into full-on cries that you are as-yet incapable of self-soothing your way out of. So your father and I come when you call, picking you up and reassuring you that all is still right with the world.

And it is.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I love being Mama

One of the blogs I read had this poem reprinted and it made me smile.  If you get the chance, click on over and read her post.

This girl child speaks five words.
No for no and no for yes, "no" for either
no or yes.

"Teewee" for wheat or oats or corn or barley
or any food taken with a spoon.

"Go way" as an edict to keep your distance
and let her determinations operate.

"Spoon" for spoon or cup or anything to be
handled, all instruments, tools, paraphernalia of
utility and convenience are SPOONS. 

Mama is her only epithet and synonym for God and
the Government and the one force of majesty
and intelligence obeying the call of pity, hunger,
pain, cold, dark--MAMA, MAMA, MAMA.

    -Carl Sandburg

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Yet another US State Dept. warning for Nepal adoption

The US State Department has issued another, stronger, warning and also includes information for PAPs currently in Kathmandu.  Looks like there will be major delays for those parents trying to come home with their babies as the US Embassy in Nepal will be closed for several days at the least.  What a nightmare...

I am hoping those families currently there will be able to come home soon.  There is at least one family currently blogging from Nepal...see the link to their blog over on my blogroll to the right...A Chair to Spare. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kate's first plane flight for her cousin's confirmation

Our niece, Martine, had her confirmation this Saturday so we flew to Atlanta to share in her day.  Kate did remarkably well on both flights, sleeping in my lap for most of the way.
We got up early Saturday morning for the service. Here is Martine with her mom, dad and the bishop.
Kate slept through the entire service!  She's under the blanket with Papa, her daddy and Uncle Terry.
Kate's cousins Ryan and Nick and Ryan's girlfriend Jen all drove down from college after their finals.
We spent the afternoon eating lots of BBQ and then Martine's boyfriend, Tim, entertained us with a violin solo.
Kate loved meeting her family in Atlanta and visiting again with Papa and Meme.
We were scheduled to leave early Sunday afternoon but our flight was canceled after it was already a half hour late.  This did not make me happy...
They redirected us to another gate to try to schedule another flight but Len got on the phone and got us onto a flight leaving in 5 minutes...two concourses away!  And naturally, guess who woke up hungry right at that moment?  But Mama was prepared for the little bugger this time!  I had read up in the Moby directions for how to put her in the sling to breastfeed while walking!  So, that makes yet another public location in an awkward breastfeeding situation!

Here they go again....

We were away this weekend but managed to get a bit of news on Len's crackberry while waiting for our flight (which was eventually cancelled...more on that in another post).  Seems Nepal's government is in a state of chaos once again.  The Maoists have called more strikes and are calling for the resignation of the PM.  There are currently several families in Nepal right now trying to bring their children home but word is they are stuck in their hotel rooms indefinitely.  You can read about the strikes here and here.  Obviously this puts adoptions in jeopardy.  They just can't seem to get it together.


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