Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Some fun pix from a visit with Revie

Vanessa visited her friend Revie about a week ago. Here are some fun pictures!

I'm gonna getcha!

Vanessa pauses from admiring Revie to admire the camera.


I keep thinking this looks like Vanessa trying to act in a Shakespearean play.
Guess who's ticklish!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Warm and snowy

It was so warm last Thursday that Vanessa and I went outside in our short sleeves, despite the snow still on the ground!

Crawling! (sort of)

So Vanessa has started to make a little bit of progress forward when she squirms around on her tummy. This is how it goes:

She burrows her head in the bed and grunts while she lifts her bottom in the air and pushes forward with her feet. Then she lays flat on the bed, lifts her head, and protests that she's not making much progress. Then she repeats the whole process. She can move about 6 inches forward in about 3 or 4 minutes. Then she's pretty much had it with being on her tummy!

Vanessa's aunt Heather visited on Thursday. Vanessa slept through some of the visit, but still had time to show off her piano playing and slobbering skills. I was so excited to have Heather visit! She helped me solve a problem I was having designing a plate tectonics lab. I had been thinking about this problem for weeks, and Heather solved the problem in about an hour with Ziploc bags, permanent marker, and some water. I have an amazing sister!

Heather was impressed by how big Vanessa has gotten since last she saw her. We'll get to find out on Thursday exactly how big -- it will be her six month appointment. Six months already!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

To Michigan and back!

James's great-grandmother Edna just passed away last week at nearly 101 years old. I had the pleasure of meeting her several times, and I was always impressed with how much energy and compassion she had. This was a much-loved lady. This past weekend, we drove up with James's parents to Kalamazoo Michigan to attend her funeral. We joined Edna's many relatives in celebrating her rich, long life.
I had some concern with Vanessa's ability to handle a 13 hour drive in wintry conditions. But Vanessa was probably the cheeriest of all of us! I think she fussed less than she usually does on an average day!

Vanessa got to see her great-grandparents again. I'm trying to remember if her great-grandpa ever let great-grandma hold her!

Vanessa meets her five-year-old third cousin, Donovan. Donovan's good at reading, can write his name, and as we found out, is very good at building extremely tall towers out of play bricks! Vanessa's sitting in her great-aunt Kathy's lap.

How many concentrating ladies does it take to get banana from a cup to Vanessa's mouth? Well, as you can see here, sometimes three!

Nana with her sister Kathy and brother Kevin. I don't usually post pictures when Vanessa's out of the frame, but for such a charming bunch, I guess I'll make an exception.

Vanessa's dinner was also bananas, I think. Vanessa was so focused on her bananas that she got her great-great aunt Jean giggling. This made Vanessa stare at Jean, which made her laugh even harder! Vanessa kept staring at her, and Jean kept laughing -- a vicious cycle! Grampa kept his composure, but Jean and I were in stitches.

Great-great aunt Jean and I relaxing after a good laugh. Vanessa says, "What was so funny?"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Snowy Valentine's Day

It snowed for Vanessa's first Valentine's day! That was especially exciting because James's grad school classes were cancelled, and he came home early and got lots of cuddling in with his little Valentine.
Vanessa is just barely tall enough to measure up on her new growth chart. It starts at 2 feet! Her onesie that she's wearing is one of the first articles of clothing I've bought for Vanessa. I have such generous friends and family, I haven't had to buy much else!

Last night while I was trying to let her go to sleep on her own, Vanessa had scooted her way up to the top of her crib and was banging her head against the crib slats. That would make her mad, so she would kick her feet and bang her head against the slats again! I had heard that crib bumpers weren't really safe (suffocation hazards), but I had had enough!

This wasn't the first time Vanessa had done this, so I put the bumper on her crib. She really likes her bumper! It has such pretty pictures on it. She took her most recent nap without a fuss because she was so busy checking out the little critters on her bumper.

Vanessa says, "Thanks, Mom, for my new bumper! Now, when I feel like head-banging, it won't hurt quite so much!"

Monday, February 12, 2007

Old friends, new friends

James and I really enjoyed a visit on Friday to an old high school friend of James's, MaryLu. We had met MaryLu's husband Michael once before, but we had never met their fantastic kids, Jackie and Isaac. Isaac is 9 months and can crawl. I haven't seen a crawling baby in a long time. I was so impressed by watching him -- ah, so that's crawling. I didn't manage to take a picture of him while we were there. I guess he was too quick to catch on camera! Jackie is about 3. She can do a somersault, put together a puzzle, and tell you what happens in a story.
I really enjoyed talking to MaryLu. She had a wealth of information on baby food, toys, napping, scheduling, etc. Plus, she made the most delicious vegetarian dinner. I know it was good (and not just my bias) because on the car ride home, James asked that we start incorporating something like that into our weekly meals.

Vanessa's a little nervous about putting together her first puzzle. She knows how to put the pieces in her mouth, but will she be expected to do anything else? Jackie sets a good example by helping to put together the pieces. MaryLu is in the foreground, and James and Dean are in the background (Dean went to high school with James and MaryLu too).

Jackie and her Daddy break down a house of bricks that they had been hiding inside.

I finally mounted the ribboned V that Vanessa's cousin Katelyn made for her. I think it adds a lot of pizazz to Vanessa's door.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Preliminary results from her new sleep schedule

Vanessa's sleep schedule has been a little bit better since I've been trying to change it. She usually goes to sleep around 6:30 or 7, wakes up at 10 PM, 2 AM, and 6:30 AM. So she's not sleeping through the night consistently yet, but there's only one middle-of-the-night feeding.

Her first nap of the day is always awesome -- she hardly ever fusses at all to go back to bed. (James will probably tell you that's because she's his daughter!) The second nap of the day is a little worse -- she usually whimpers very quietly for 15 minutes or so, but she did really well with it today! If she takes a third nap, she really cries for 10 minutes before going to sleep, and bedtime is hit or miss -- either up to 30 minutes of crying or she'll just go to sleep without a fuss.

It seems to me that if I accidentally give her the impression that she's about to get fed, that triggers the fussing.

I feel like it's all about me guessing correctly when she's ready to go down for naps. This is definitely the trickiest part of parenting so far.

Here's Vanessa at my Aunt Teri's this past weekend. She was wearing Redskins garb to match her daddy. He was hoping that Redskin receiver Art Monk would get chosen for induction into the Football Hall of Fame that day, but alas, no luck this year.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A wailing party

So yesterday I agreed to watch my friend Jessica's daughter Revie for a few minutes until her husband Jeff came home. I brought both Revie and Vanessa down to the basement for playtime. They both had some time in the Jumperoo (Revie is an excellent jumper, by the way). Then I set them both down on the playmat and they were playing happily together (or at least, next to each other).

"Oh wait," I thought, "When Jeff comes by to pick up Revie, I won't be able to hear the doorbell in the basement. I'll be really clever and set up the baby monitor to pick up the doorbell chime. I'll rush upstairs really fast and get the baby monitor from the nursery." I ran to get the monitor, set it up, and was downstairs again in 2 minutes or less. The babies were still playing happily, although Vanessa had taken away Revie's rattle. Vanessa, be nice and share!

All was going well until Vanessa peed. I changed her diaper. Then I decided to check Revie's diaper. It was wet too. As I was changing Revie's diaper, though, Vanessa started fussing just a little. I normally would have picked her up to comfort her but I was in the middle of changing Revie's diaper. By the time I finished changing Revie's diaper, Vanessa was fussing a little more. In fact, fussing too much for Revie! "Waah!" Revie started howling! Then Vanessa thought, "What a great idea, I think I'll howl too!" I picked up the wailing Vanessa. It turned out she had a burp that had been bothering her. But there was no calming her now.

I felt like I was babysitting a pair of wolf cubs. They just couldn't help howling when the other one started. I should have been worried about them, I guess, but I couldn't help laughing at my situation. Ah! What does one do with two screaming babies? When I calm one down, the other is still wailing and then the first starts right back up again! I had picked up both of them and was walking to other rooms hoping to distract them into calming down. It wasn't working, of course.

Thank goodness after only about 5 minutes of this, my phone rang and it was Jeff to rescue me. Apparently my baby monitor system didn't work for the doorbell and the poor guy was outside in the cold trying to get inside. I wonder if he could hear his baby screaming at the top of her lungs! I realized later that we had turned the volume way down on the monitor the night before so that must have been why it didn't work.

Ah, well, adventures in babysitting. I didn't mind so much the 5 minutes of dueling wailers, but I have to say, thank goodness I don't have triplets.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A busy Saturday

So, when we decided to go visit three different homes with Vanessa on Saturday, I was at least partly worried that Vanessa would get a little tired of visiting! But she enjoyed hearing cousin Brett play the piano and cousin Danielle sing at my Aunt Teri's house. And she enjoyed meeting new people at my friend Rachel's house. Vanessa did get a little fussy at Rachel's house for about 10 minutes or so before I remembered it was time to feed her!

At James's friend Ryan's house, I was sure that Vanessa would be at her visiting limit. But even though she stayed up 3 hours past her bedtime, she still was happy being passed from person to person. There was a very adorable two-month-old baby boy at Ryan's house too. At five months, Vanessa looked about twice his size! I can't believe she was so tiny only a few months ago. James and I were remarking that Vanessa has gained about 2 feet and almost 20 pounds in one year (counting the months in utero). A pretty incredible growth spurt!