Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Oh, Christmas tree...

Love came down at Christmas, 
Love all lovely, Love Divine; 
Love was born at Christmas; 
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine;
Worship we our Jesus,
But wherewith for sacred sign? 

Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

-Christina Rosetti

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Three Years of Violet

Sweet brown eyes

She is just knock-out drop-dead gorgeous, isn't she? It is Violet's birthday and she is 3 years old. We've been wishing her a happy birthday today and she responds, "Happy birthday to you too!" There was so much baby still in her at her second birthday, and so very little today. In the past year, she's weaned, potty-trained, and started sleeping the entire night in her own bed. (Well, most nights. She's actually been going through a bit of a rough patch sleeping-wise in the last week or so.) She is rock solid at identifying letters and numbers and almost as consistently can tell you what sounds letters make and count up objects.

She is so independent and self-sufficient, so confident and brave. Maybe more than anyone else in our family, she is her own person. This means she has no qualms at answering us, "No. Go away," when she is engrossed in something but it also means she is such a calm, collected soul when engaging the great world out there. She has a resilient toughness to her character but still a sweet toddler need for nurturing and snuggling that I hope she doesn't outgrow anytime soon. Who she is right now is amazing.
  • She calls pigtails and ponytails "Veggie Tales", although we are typically more of a Sesame Street and Sid the Science Kid house than a Veggie Tales house. At first, we had no idea what she was talking about when she was demanding these, leading to some great frustration.
  • She sometimes likes to sleep with a towel and calls it her "comfy night-night towel".
  • She dislikes wearing pants/leggings/etc and often outright refuses unless forced. She runs around the house in panties a lot.
  • She is a hair-twirler. I remember her wanting to play with my hair when she was a baby and now she will have both index fingers in her own hair, twirling in constant circles, when she is tired or stressed.
  • She loves to build big Lego structures and put together puzzles, often accompanied by a warbling song such as, "Building things building things building things." Sometime she will move to the piano to continue her song.
Oh, sweet, beautiful, goofy girl, I love you and I am so glad to be celebrating a new year of you.

Silly face

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's All Teeth, All the Time

So this happened:

The one right next to it is loose too

Her first little lost tooth! It had been loose for several days, each day growing more and more wobbly. Actually, now that I think about it, the first thing we noticed is that her adult tooth there was starting to emerge, behind the baby tooth. I was about to call her dentist to see if this was a bad sign when the baby tooth started to get loose. Anyway, we had been talking to Grace about wiggling it back and forth and eventually yanking it out. MUCH to my surprise, one morning she asked me if I would see if I could pull it out. Grace is not the toughest of characters and has a pretty big fear of physical pain (the thought of shots at the doctor gives her lots of anxiety) so her request was pretty unexpected. I tried with my fingers a few times but couldn't get it, so then I made a little loop of dental floss to pull on it. I gave it one good tug downwards and OUT it came. Grace totally freaked out (I'm sure it hurt for a moment and there was a bit of blood) and I have serious doubts she will ever let me do that again. She did recover, of course, and is now happy about her new status and the four quarters she found in her tooth fairy pillow the next morning. (Is that the going rate for teeth these days? I have no idea.) The other bottom front tooth is loose too so we'll see how long it takes her to get that one out.

It is a bit of a mind-bender to have one child losing her bottom two front teeth while another one has his coming in.


He started putting his chubby little fingers in his mouth all the time, then stopped being able to sleep alone for any length of time, then the drool started, and then, in short succession, two sharp white teeth poked through his bottom gums. This is so early, right? He is just 3 months old! Some friends of mine were joking with me that either he was gestating way longer than we thought and he was born already 3 months old, or maybe he is headed for a career as a superhero because he has been exposed to some comic-book-style radiation that is making him grow up at super speed. Grace did get her first tooth at 4 months old (also on the early side) but Violet was more typical at 8 or 9 months. So anyway, little Lewis has been on the fussy side, not inconsolable but obviously uncomfortable (as well as drool-soaked). I think the worst is over for these two but it's just a matter of time until more appear.

I've been a bit under the weather as well, which is truly terrible timing (birthdays! Christmas!). I had a full-blown stomach virus Monday and still feel a bit iffy. And then probably because of the combination of being sick, being tired, being busy, and last night sleeping on my front for a while, I have a plugged milk duct for the first time in 4+ years of breastfeeding. Ow. My plan is to really rest and disengage from everything for the rest of today so that I hopefully can recover and heal quickly. Sadly for Robert, this means he is going to have to pick up the slack on some party preparation and cleaning and such. And on his birthday! Today is his birthday and tomorrow is Violet's, so we are having a party for them tomorrow evening with a little handful of people. And Christmas is SO SOON, you guys. I think I would feel much more ready to celebrate all these wonderful things if I hadn't gotten so ill. I will admit to feeling a bit behind.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Choppity Chop Chop

The time has come, once again, for my dramatic post-partum haircut. Each time I've been pregnant, I've let my hair grow out because all those pregnancy hormones make it look especially full and nice and awesome. Then it gets even longer because after the baby is born I cannot easily go get a haircut, however much I might like to. Then all those hormones go away and sometime around 2-3 months my hair starts shedding LIKE MAD. Seriously, SO MUCH HAIR coming out-- a) it grosses me out and b) my hair starts to look kind of stringy and limp. Then, finally, I reach the point of being able to stand it no longer and go have it chopped all off:

BEFORE dramatic post-partum haircut

AFTER dramatic post-partum haircut

Yay! I feel like a NEW WOMAN. This may have been the most dramatic haircut ever for me; she cut off about 5" of hair. I've found a stylist here that I like quite well who does mostly curly hair. I will admit that I liked the guy I went to in Dallas a bit better as he was some kind of curly-hair genius (hey look! something I like better about Dallas than Salt Lake City!) but this girl here is great too. And oh, how much happier I am when my hair has a specific style that looks like it was done on purpose... (I've mentioned before how I feel about too long hair or hair that has been arrived at by default.) It's still shedding like you wouldn't believe but at least there is less of it now and it looks better.

At around the same time when I chopped my hair, we attempted to go chop ourselves a Christmas tree. We decided to try one more time after last year's less-than-stellar results. We drove to a different Christmas tree farm than last time, although also about an hour away, and tromped around trying to see what we could find.

On the hunt for a tree

Hmmmm, nothing seems very promising

It was EVEN WORSE than last year, partly because it was so picked over (this was the weekend after the weekend after Thanksgiving) and partly because, well, I guess Utah does not grow the prettiest trees, in the style of the Pacific Northwest. It was so bad (and so freezing cold that day), in fact, that we left without one and drove the hour back to the city. We needed a few things at Costco so we stopped there. And look!

So we ended up buying one at Costco

Costco had Christmas trees! "Fine," we sighed slightly defeatedly, and bought one. My photographic record of our Christmas tree journey ends here, but it was still DAYS until we had it up and decorated. We got the tree home and realized that our Christmas tree stand (which is this special swivel-y kind that we like a lot) broke last year and we had forgotten to order a new one. Rob ordered a new one and in the meantime we put the tree in a bucket of water in the garage. Then we proceeded to have a super cold snap with highs in 20s and the tree and its water froze. The first day I could still poke my finger through the ice in the tree's bucket, but by the next day the layer of ice was a good inch thick. By this time the weekend was over and all the rest of our tree efforts had to take place after Rob was home from work, i.e. in the pitch black darkness of December evenings at 41ยบ N latitude.

Our stand arrived once our tree was good and frozen and that evening we managed to get the tree inside, after power saws were used in the dark and so forth. It was so frozen that when we unwrapped the twine holding the branches up, the branches just stayed that way. Over the course of the next hour it slowly defrosted and the branches dropped into a more Christmas-y arrangement. You could hear it if you put your ear next to the tree, these tiny pinging icy sounds. Also, it dropped an unseemly amount of needles, maybe because of being frozen? Or because Costco didn't have one of those shake-y machines that they have at Lowes or Home Depot? The next night we got the lights on, and the night after that, FINALLY, almost a week after we went to cut down a tree, it was finished and decorated. What an ordeal! I have never really seen the appeal of a pre-lit artificial tree but this year? This year I get it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

3 Months

Lewis is three months old now. Today? Or yesterday? Since he was born on the thirty-first I'm not entirely sure when he would officially have another month under his wee tiny belt. Those hot late summer days when I was so hugely pregnant seem a million years ago and Lewis doesn't seem like an interloping newcomer but like he is exactly where he belongs, here with us.

Little baby hands

I think I've finally gotten over calling him "her" and "she". Having never had a boy child before, using the correct pronouns took some getting used to. I was especially bad about this in the middle of the night in those first weeks. I was only half-awake and he was usually wearing something plain white or gender neutral that both girls also wore, so my sleepy brain was very unclear on exactly which baby this was and what his sex was. During the day, he's usually wearing something that is a more clear cultural signifier for "baby boy"and also I am at least somewhat more awake, so that's been less of a problem.

Little man

Lewis is a big, big boy. He was 8 lbs 6 oz at birth, then 9 lbs 1 oz at his 2-week doctor visit. We didn't go back to the pediatrician until his 2-month well visit, where he had shot up to 15 lbs 8 oz. I still can't believe that-- over 6 lbs in 6 weeks. He wore the 0-3 month clothes for about a month, then the 3-6 month clothes for about a month, and he is currently wearing 6-12 month clothes. He is not going to outgrow them immediately but they are certainly not that big on him. Maybe we'll get a full two months' worth of wear out of this set before he gets too long for the shirts to cover his belly or for the snaps to meet under his diaper. This is a totally new experience for us, as the girls were very average in their growth, especially this early. I have no explanation for this as he doesn't seem to nurse any more than the girls did and I don't feel like I have more or different milk. We're dealing with a bit of overactive letdown, just like I did with Violet, but it's not too bad and he doesn't seem as overwhelmed and troubled as Violet did. I remember feedings with Violet in these early weeks being stressful, brief, milky, spluttering affairs and it's not that bad this time, especially if I nurse him lying down and only nurse from one side per feeding. It all resolved itself with Violet after a month or whatever, and I'm sure it will this time too. He doesn't seem to spit up as much as I remember the girls doing, so maybe that is the secret to his amazing superbaby growth? He actually keeps more of it in his stomach?

Sweet baby boy

His eyes are still very blue and we suspect that he may keep them. My eyes are green and Rob's are dark brown, so we always expected the dominant genes to win and that we would have all brown-eyed children. Grace's eyes were blue as a baby but we kept saying, "Oh, they'll probably change." Months and months passed and eventually we came to realize that she was going to keep them. Violet's eyes were that newborn gray at the start, of course, but they turned Rob's chocolate-y brown very early, before she was even one month old. Lewis' eyes are blue blue blue, much like Grace's, so maybe by some statistical fluke 2/3 of our children will end up blue-eyed.


His neck is getting very strong, he has just started to roll over from front and to back, and he smiles-- full-on huge open-mouthed toothless smiles of glee and joy. I too am full of joy at seeing him emerge from the cocooned curled-up world of a newborn into happy babyhood.