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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Kate's Yia Yia and Pappou were here visiting this weekend from DC.  Len and I went out for our first dinner sans Kate on Friday night with Katherine and Don.  Ms. Tricha came to watch Kate.  Earlier that day Ms. Tricha and Kate had some early Halloween fun.  She brought Kate a little Halloween present--a bear in costume! Kate is a tree frog.
Kate likes to race Ms. Tricha down the hallway but was distracted by the doorstop again.
 
Saturday the local garden center had a carnival of sorts...pony rides, petting zoo, face painting and exotic animals.
Kate was unfazed by the small pony we set her on.
 
 They had a sloth and an owl as part of the exotic pets:
 
Andersonville merchants participate in a trick-or-treat/costume contest so we loaded Kate into the stroller and walked Clark Street for her first foray into begging for candy.
 
 
 
We had an early dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Big Jones, where we feasted on fried green tomatoes, greens, okra, sausages, fried catfish and chicken/dumplings.
 
 
Katherine and Don came bearing wonderful gifts--a fabulous version of Little Red Riding Hood in Greek with lovely illustrations and a handmade quilt in the colors of Kate's room.  Kate was enjoying laying with her quilt this evening before bed.
 
 

 
 

Thank you Yia Yia and Pappou for making the trek to see us, for the really thoughtful gifts and for sharing in Kate's first Halloween.  We miss you already and yes, Kate cried and cried, clawing her eyes out almost, when you left. :-)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's a Jammie kind of day

We woke up to 80mph wind gusts and rain.  The kind of day that makes you want to roll over and pull the covers back over your head.  Life with a 9 month old won't exactly let you make those kinds of decisions.  Her internal alarm seems to be permanently set to 6:30am, wind, rain, sleet, snow or hail be damned.  So while Len got dressed and secured everything down on our two decks, I got Kate up and decided that today would be a great day to stay in our jammies.  At least until Tricha shows up at 11am.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Zoe Reincarnated?

We had a lovely golden retriever, Zoe, for 10 all-too-short years.  She died in 2006 quite suddenly from cancer but for the 10 years we had with her she was literally our baby girl.  We took her on countless vacations, weekend trips and anywhere else that would allow a 75 pound, slightly over-zealous dog.  Zoe was a character.  She never met anybody that didn't need a huge slobbery greeting followed by copious amount of hair deposited on unwilling pants.  Her favorite toy was a red ball that would blink a red light when bounced.  It was a necessity for those early winter evenings of throwing the ball in the back  yard after work.  But pretty soon she would not bring the ball back to us; it was way too valuable to be lobbed around so blithely.  We solved the problem by buying an identical ball which, the first time she saw it, was the most priceless expression of "HUH? Where did that come from??" I've ever seen.

Here's Zoe with one of the balls:
Lately, Kate has become fixated on a pink band that we generally keep in our bedroom so she can play in there while we get ready in the morning.  Not content to play on the rug anymore,
MUST    CRAWL   NOW!!
she wants to come into the bathroom to see what's going on there.  Problem is, how to carry the ring when both hands are involved in motoring over rug and floor. 

Problem solved:


So, she comes when called, opens her mouth for treats whenever there is any sign of food, carries her toys in her mouth....Zoe?  Is that you?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Do not want (empahtic)

In my rare moments of down time I manage to stumble across some reading that is totally un-educational but has great comedic value.  Jezebel has created a pretty good gallery of animated gifs.

My favorites:

Bitch, please

Do not want (emphatic)

Internet reading expression

I see what you did there

WTF

So now you know what I do when I'm not reading Socrates to Kate.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Low key weekend

It looks to be a rainy, chilly weekend here in Chicago and for once, we have nothing planned.  Len and Kate are at Wiggleworms right now since we missed our normal Monday class but otherwise the weekend is wide open.  It's probably for the best since we are just now rounding the bend on last week's cold.  I think I actually had it worse than Kate since she seemed pretty happy except for her congestion.  I ended up in bed nearly every day for a nap with another 10 hours at night.

Kate is working on cutting her top teeth.  Her left top tooth appears to be coming in first--I can see a blister-like bubble with a white tooth underneath it so I would imagine it will make an appearance sometime this week.  Should be interesting to see how nursing goes after that...

We finally got a pack-n-play so I wouldn't have to bring Kate into the bathroom with me every time I needed to make a visit.  She seems to like it and really enjoys making faces at me through the screen.


PS--for those of you who know my friend Paivi, she went into labor today!  I'll keep you posted on mom and baby as I hear news.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pestilence raging through our house

Kate and I are both down for the count.  This is Kate's second cold and I seem to have caught this one as well.  She's such a trooper though and is still a smiley happy girl even through the snot and bleary eyes.  The main drawback to the cold is her inability to blow her nose.  Who knew this was such a vital life function??  Listening to her try to nurse when she cannot breathe through her nose is...well....both heartbreaking and sort of nauseating at the same time.  This leads to her not nursing for very long and just giving up which, in turn, leads to waking up in the middle of the night hungry.  For two nights she woke up rather early in the night before Len had come to bed so he took the feedings.  Night before last it was 4am when she woke and since I was not feeling too well myself I ended up just bringing her to bed with us so she could nurse there.  I haven't done that in quite some time and I had been missing those sweet times when she would nestle in and go to sleep.  That was several months and a lot less mobility ago.  Kate just could not keep still, arms and legs peddling, head butting her way around the bed, kicking Len in the stomach, pushing my legs.  It was not the coziest of times. 

Kate is barreling her way to toddlerhood so much faster than I want.  She is starting to pull up on anything that will give her leverage but then doesn't know to continue hanging on.  I think it will still be some time before she figures it all out and for now she is getting around quite well by crawling. 

We have settled into a routine with our nanny, Miss Tricha.  Kate seems to really like her and is learning new things with her like holding her own bottle and clapping.  She has not really mastered either one but she delights in learning something new and solemnly studies Tricha in those moments.  They go out for walks when she's here and Tricha sends email photos to Len at work so he can keep up with Kate's day.  Here are a couple that she sent last week. 
They went to the local bookstore for reading and music.
It's funny but I still have mixed emotions about having someone else take care of her even though it's only a few hours a week.  What if I miss something?  But then I see how excited Kate is to have a new face around and realize that this is just the first of many "letting go" moments I will need to have with her.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Weekend

This weekend  has rushed by.  Yesterday we spent an exhausting 2 hours at a Preschool Fair.  You did read that correctly.  I know Kate is only 9 months old but to hear the parents around here, "if you don't start early you don't get in".  I don't know if I buy that but there were a suspicious number of parents with infants (read: just out of the womb) and even some pregnant women at this event.  Ms. Tricha came over to watch Kate because the organizers of the event did specify that if was kid-free, contrary to what we were seeing.

Anyway, I had spent some time organizing and whittling the list of schools down to those closest to our neighborhood so that we wouldn't have to cull through the 80 or so schools who were in attendance.  We probably talked to 15 and felt completely wiped out by the end of it.

By Saturday night Kate started to show the signs of another cold.  It was exactly the same scenario as the last cold she had...playgroup on Thursday with a couple of recovering kids=Kate unable to breathe through her nose on Saturday night.  Fortunately this cold doesn't seem to have a fever attached with it, just the stuffy nose, coughing, fitful sleeping and vastly decreased appetite.

Since she seemed to be feeling well today we headed out to an orchard in Indiana after her morning nap.  This trip was so much more enjoyable than last October's pumpkin patch visit when I was 21 weeks pregnant and throwing up the whole time.
Having Kate on the OUTSIDE of me is infinitely more enjoyable and cute!



We had a good time riding the tractor and just enjoying the crisp Fall day. Kate was nice and tired by the end of the afternoon and conked out for the hour ride home.
She woke up happy and stayed that way for an hour or so but then her cold caught up with her and we ended up putting her to bed by 5:30pm. I'm headed that way now as I think I've got a bit of that same cold.  My nose and head are all stuffy and I'm feeling kind of achy. We may not make it to Wiggleworms tomorrow...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Love Letter, Month 9

Dear Kate,

You are nine months old today.  Two words describe you this month:  Constant Motion.  From the moment we pick you up in the morning your legs are running in mid-air and they continue to peddle all through the diaper change and the getting dressed routine.  As soon as you are set down anywhere you immediately flip over onto hands and knees and take off crawling. This leads to the two words that describe me this month:  Constant Vigilance.  You are fast.  And curious.  A lethal combination.  You especially gravitate towards wires and the bottoms of shoes as those not only must taste nice, they get you extra fast attention from your mama: a super double-bonus for baby.
Your Nana came and spent a week with us this month and in that time you learned finally to sit up all by yourself.  You looked pleased as punch when you would sit up and your Nana and I would start clapping and cheering you on.  I don’t think you knew what you had accomplished but you were all too willing to take the glory. Your Nana also taught you Eskimo kisses.
Having you underfoot is much like having a new puppy.  All the traits are the same: your teeth are sharp (you now have two bottom teeth!), you are always chewing something you shouldn’t be and you sit in the middle of the living room and grunt out a poop.  Add to that the fact that we left you sitting in our bedroom and then called for you to follow us down the hall one morning.  You happily slapped your way down the hall while your father and I encouraged, “Come on Kate!  You can do it!” and then had to redirect you away from chewing the rubber tip off the door stop that had distracted you.
This new penchant for adventure is taking a toll on your already sporadic napping.  Oh, lest I complain too much I must mention that you are now a champion night-time sleeper. Twelve whole hours in fact.  You go down almost immediately around 6pm and don’t wake up until 6am.  And yet, those same skills do not seem to operate during the day.  You show every sign of needing a nap but the moment I take you into your room you do everything in your power to wake back up.  You start babbling, twisting every which-a-way, throwing your body back into a board pose, and eventually, full-on crying.  You do have a bit of the drama-queen in you.
You have started to wave; at least we think you might be waving as you are waving just one hand with your fingers moving up and down as a unit much like a beauty-queen wave and it doesn't look like you are flapping your arms the way you usually do when you are excited. You also pound your high chair tray and yell when you want more food. On the rare occasions that you are really hungry you sit with your mouth open and your hands in the air waiting for me to spoon more food in. It is adorable although sometimes I fear I may be sitting at your table in college spooning food into your mouth because teaching you how to use a spoon is an exercise in extreme frustration.  You aren’t even thrilled about using your fingers for anything other than the melty puffs I put on your tray.  You have no desire to touch anything that is the least bit squishy, soft, cold or wet which rules out most baby foods.

You are still quite the food experimenter.  This month the new foods you have tried and liked included broccoli, honeydew, black beans and brown rice, hot Italian sausage crumbles, pasta, oatmeal and some fabulous Ethiopian fare.  You are so excited to eat that you actually lean forward when you see the bib approaching so I can affix it around your neck.

You are getting so much more independent.  Now when we go to Wiggleworms you don't stay next to me the entire time, but instead head straight to the center of the circle to check out Miss Julie and her guitar.  You will lie on your stomach and contemplate her for a full 5 minutes.  She remarked the other day, “If an adult was sitting that close and studying me that much it would totally creep me out but somehow Kate makes it cute.”  Next you go around visiting with the other parents. You crawled into another mom’s lap and sat there happily through one whole song.  I had to come retrieve you when her son realized his territory was in jeopardy. 
 
At playgroup you cruise around climbing over the other babies like a bulldozer. You are especially fond of those babies that have hair as you grab great handfuls of it and hang on with a ridiculously strong grip for someone so small.  Sometimes you circle back around and check in with me but most of the time you are just happy to check out all the cool toys that you don't have at home.
Because of your new-found mobility we have had to lower your crib.  It was another sad milestone for me and not for the reason you would think.  The crux of the matter is that I cannot reach you anymore unless I lower the side of the crib.  This, in turn, makes a loud click which has the unfortunate effect of waking you all the way up from your drowsy state.  But on those occasions when you do fall asleep, I love to see your new sleeping position: on your tummy with your knees tucked under you, your pretty hiney all up in the air.  I have to physically restrain myself from patting your tushy it's so cute.

You love to mimic me or better yet, try to get me to mimic you.  You have some control issues and I cannot fathom who you inherited that from.  You will cluck your tongue or tilt your head or blow a raspberry and wait for me to do it back.  You are so easily amused at this age.  I love to see you trying to master something new.  You will stick out your tongue in extreme concentration like your Uncle Terry used to when he was little.  I’m not sure where you learned to shake your head no but you do it now to indicate when you are through with something.  I hold the spoon to your lips and say “More?” and you shake your head no.  If I continue to ask, your no becomes a vigorous NO!  And if I make the mistake of double-checking just to be sure you meant it the NO! is combined with a right hook to the spoon with your fist.
The end of this month marked a new phase for you with the introduction of Miss Tricha, your nanny.  Yes, that’s right.  Mama finally got up the courage to entrust your care to a non-family member.  Miss Tricha comes two days a week for a few hours so Mama can go to yoga and then sit in a café afterwards with a pot of tea and a book.  You get to go to the park, read a lot of books and play with someone new.  I come home to a well-fed and sleeping Kate and you wake up to a refreshed Mama.  I call that a win-win.
Trying to get you to sit still is an almost impossible task. But today you were not in the mood to take a nap and I went in and got you out of your crib and nursed you a bit more and when you were finished you were still awake but sleepy and I held you close and you didn't wiggle away and I just sat there rocking and feeling the full weight of your little body in my arms, your breaths moving in and out, your head resting against my shoulder and I smelled your sweet baby hair and felt overwhelming love for you, my darling daughter.

Love,
Mama

Help bring the families home

If you are a US citizen, please sign this petition to Congress, urging them to expedite visas for the remaining families.  You can also send an email directly through this site to your local representatives with a further option to send a letter.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Help the families in Nepal come home with their children

A fellow blogger was kind enough to post this in the comments in my preceding post.   In case you don't look at the comments, here you go:

If you Facebook and you want to help the Nepali adopting families come home with their children, we would be very grateful if you send a comment to the Department of State on this Facebook link 

We know they're reading it and volume counts - so any post - even one sentence saying "bring them home" can make a difference!!!

Thanks ya'll!  

More heartache in Nepal

Candice has had to find an apartment in Nepal since she has been there for over 2 months.  In order to defray costs and to have support, she is sharing her apartment with Dee Dee.  Here is an article about Dee Dee and Bina's fight to come home.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Morning comes early in these parts

I don't know what you like to do at 6:30am but we fancy a fresh layer of baby spit applied to our glass door.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Candice on NPR

My Chicago friend, Candice, has now been in Nepal for 2 months.  She has heard absolutely nothing from our government about the status of her file or when they will have an answer as to when (or if) she will be able to return home with her daughter.  Fortunately, Candice has her own PR company which is coming in quite handy right now!  Her latest interview is on NPR.  Click here and then scroll down until you see the title Adoptive Mom Finds Herself Stuck in Nepal.  It is audio only. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Crawling and sitting up

This is kind of long but it displays Kate's new talent for crawling and sitting up.  She doesn't sit until near the end of the video however so bear with her!

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