Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All that really matters

"When you get older, all that really matters to you is your posterity."

This was said several times this weekend by my dear father-in-law, Archie and it's a philosophy he and his wife really live by. Turns out, Grant's parents always liked coming to see him when he was a bachelor, but it's just a lot more fun now that he's started contributing to the next generation and they just love it. There's something in it for everybody, really. :)

Kendra got a whole new perspective of the world while she was here with two extra people around during the day to hold her. She has discovered a new activity that keeps her vividly entertained for hours on end: watching the cars approach and pass the stop sign on the street below our windows.
Good thing there's a screen there. She was getting so into it, Jackie was sure she was about to leap out of her hands to get a better look at the passing traffic.

While Grandmas are more let-me-hold-you, Grandpas are more let-me-play-with-you, which Kendra also happens to extremely enjoy.

I can't tell which one is having a better time here... :)

Now that we live "in" Chicago officially and are part of the Chicago Public Library system, we can take advantage of a cool program they have for library card holders where you can check out a pass that's good for 4 general admissions to different museums and attractions around Chicago. You can only take one pass at a time and it's only good at one attraction, but you can keep it for 7 days. And it's a total grab bag, you never know what's available before you physically go to the library and they don't hold a pass you're interested in or call you when someone turns it in, it's just what's there when you go is what's available. So, I took a chance and scored the pass to the Field Museum! For the cost of an El ride, we made an afternoon of it on Friday while Grant was at work (who'd already been to it and told us to go without him).

Nice backpack, eh? It was a fabulous hand-me-down from Heber and Debbie and man do we love it! So convenient when you're hauling a seven-month-old who can't get enough of checking out the world around her. We were a bit overwhelmed when we got there because this museum is huge. After we realized we spent well over an hour just perusing a single exhibit which was only a small portion of one of the three floors of the museum, we decided we'd gotten our El ride's worth of it and headed back home. We decided this at 4:30pm on a Friday. When we boarded the train back home, though Kendra has been doing beautifully with strangers lately, we were all packed in there like sardines and the only person she could see was a man right in front of her who was definitely not her Daddy (how dare he!) and boy was she upset! She'd start wailing, open her eyes and see the strange man again and start wailing again, over and over. Poor thing! Luckily, everyone around was really understanding and someone quickly gave up a seat for the baby in distress, it was only three stops anyway and she was her usual happy self for the walk back home.

Unfortunately, I got sick on Saturday and spent most of the day in bed. Since it lead to such a low-key weekend, Grant finally got to introduce me to a game he's been dying to play with me since well before we got married but is a 3 or 4 player game: Settlers of Catan.

By Monday we were all wanting to keep playing just so that someone besides Grant would win! Jackie did finally get him, but we all enjoyed learning the game. My affinity for board games goes way back--my sister and I spent whole days and weekends (and several pitchers of Kool-Aide and/or iced tea) playing them when I was growing up and when I was a nanny I spent many hours passing the time with the youngest kid so I'm pretty stoked to be enjoying this with my own family.

While we had company, I took the opportunity to ask Debbie for a really yummy recipe she made for us when we were in St. Louis for Labor Day: chicken pot pie. Oh. My. Heck.

The rave reviews I got totally made my day--I'm sure this is just how Betty Crocker feels. Actually, though it's flattering to hear compliments on my cooking and homemaking, what really makes me feel good is that specifically when Grant's parents mention it, it makes me think that they think I'm taking good care of their son and granddaughter. And I want them to think that because I love their son and granddaughter very, very much.

However, besides delicious meals, board games, cool museums and even seeing the new apartment, the real reason Grant's parents came to town was to get their hands on that baby! When they first got here, she wasn't quite sure about it...but she was pretty used to them after about 24 hours and is probably confused that they're not here anymore. She sure had fun with them.

We're all agreed: she's one happy little girl! Though they'd seen many pictures and videos here on the blog, they loved seeing her up close and personal. She's changed a lot since they were here for her blessing back in May! And we really loved having them (not just because of the free childcare for my dental cleaning on Monday or the help around the house when I was sick on Saturday and Sunday). Their goal is to come often enough that by the time she's two, she won't forget who they are in between visits. We don't have any objections to this goal at all.

After all,
"When you get older, all that really matters to you is your posterity."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

An Unexpected Visit

We had a special and unexpected visitor this week: our brother-in-law Mike came into town for a conference for work.

This is an example of a time when it really pays to be right on the train lines. He was able to pop over after his meeting and share a great evening with us. This was the first time he's been able to meet Kendra and what a meeting it was. She loved him. We always ask people's opinion of Kendra's personality because we don't really have any babies to compare her with. In Mike's opinion she's a people watcher. I guess that's a good thing. For sure she's not a difficult baby, and that's good.

Also while he was here, Mike got a chance to meet the other members of the Farnsworth family: the tarantulas. And he was a good sport and held Stella

It was a great visit. Times like these make us wish the family all lived a little closer together so we could do this kind of thing more. Thanks for coming, Mike.

Picturesque Moments

We have so many picture-worthy moments around this house. Sometimes it's "classic" picture material, and sometimes it's "unique" material.

Ashley is such a cute little girl. She sometimes puts a mud mask on to make her perfect skin...well...more perfect. The great part is that she won't move her face or make any expression at all while it's on. I have a lot of fun teasing her and trying to get her to move. I just love the mud look, though.

In her turn, she notices that whenever I feed Kendra, I get a little empathetic. I never understand what's so complicated about opening her mouth wide for the choo choo train of food.

So I open my mouth on her behalf...generally really wide. I can't seem to keep myself from doing so even though it clearly has no effect whatsoever on Kendra.

Kendra has been getting used to incarceration in the superyard we got for her. Often she acts like one of those prisoners in jail clinking their mugs on the bars.

Kendra provides most of the funny moments. She has the most expressive face. When she eats sour things we almost fall over laughing. We've never been able to adequately capture that look on film, but here was a cute look she gave us tonight as she was eating some peaches.

Peaches don't sound sour to you and me, but they seem very much so to her. Actually this look is probably more from camera flashes than anything else. She's learned that when someone pulls out the camera she's going to get a retina-full. Even so she's photogenic to us.

Fantasy Prom

This is prom as we would have looked, if we had been able to be high school sweethearts as well.

No offense to the people we actually did go to prom with, but what a great couple!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Love and Hate

Kendra loves her Daddy. Of course, she loves Mommy too--but there is totally a special little twinkle in her eye every time Grant comes in the door from work. It's pretty sweet.

Just behind her playmat is one of our bookcases with a shelf of picture albums on the bottom and I noticed one day last week that Kendra was spending a lot of time pawing at those albums.

When I looked at her, she had the biggest grin on her face. I see her play a lot but she doesn't generally smile while she's playing, just when she interacts with people. I couldn't figure out why she was smiling until I realized which photo album she was batting at over and over and over again...

I almost teared up, it was so sweet to realize that she was pawing and grinning at the picture of Grant. She really does know her Daddy!

But there are some things that Kendra hates...

I was also noticing that her cradle cap was building up again. Her hair is actually getting long and thick enough that it covers it up for the most part--but I still know it's there! And it is super-duper mild, I mean the only reason I know it's not dandruff is that I've researched it. But finally, I couldn't handle looking at that yellow gunk, so I coated the problem area in vaseline and let it sit there for an hour or so.

Turns out, Kendra does not like having her head combed for long periods of time (to gently loosen up the gunk), nor does she like having her head rubbed down and washed repeatedly to remove vaseline. She was getting pretty angry with me, so I gave up with her hair still pretty sticky. But I couldn't resist the Kodak moment. I made sure to tell the story first so that you wouldn't think I've been letting her play with electrical sockets (as addressed in the post below).

She's totally still mad at me here. No lie, she willfully refused to smile.

But after some milk and a nap, she was right as rain. And as per usual, at the end of the day, she's still our darling little girl.

Emergency Shopping!

Last time we visited Heber's family (that is, before Kendra was born) Debbie offered us some baby proofing stuff...a baby gate, some doorknob and outlet protectors, that kind of thing. Ashley and I just chuckled and sort of said "we aren't going to be needing any of that stuff any time soon." For some reason the time when Kendra became mobile seemed really distant.

Well, as you may know Kendra has recently made some progress in the mobility department. First she learned to roll over, then to move like an inchworm, and finally to do a really slow soldier's crawl. One step at a time, we say.

Yesterday Ashley contacted me at work in a rather desperate way saying we need to babyproof the house. I calmed her down and said "yeah you are right, we can talk about it when I get home." I pondered how overexcited Ashley can get about things like that. When I finally arrived home I found Ashley exceedingly frazzled and all sorts of floor items--like trash cans--up on shelves and desks. In one day Kendra went from a pretty much stationary little cuddle bug to an industrial-strength full time trouble professional. We seriously can't take our eyes off of her for just a few seconds or she will zip across the room and start fishing out tarantulas, eating garbage, or sucking on electrical cords. I backed up my chair and almost ran over her fingers because she had crept like a ninja from the other room around behind me and was looking at my chair wheels! There was no waiting on this one, we needed baby proofing immediately!

Luckily today is a Saturday. This morning when we just needed her to stay out of trouble for a few minutes we put her in her crib--that's not really something we like to do because we want the crib to be just for sleeping...but there was seriously no place else we could put her that would not result in danger--she cried until we relented and took her out. The maintenance dude came and she was super-intent on sucking on all his tools. She waited until we got distracted or looked away to make a bee line for the toolbox! It was a stressful morning for everyone (well, Ashley slept through much of it...poor dear, after a day like that who wouldn't?).

We left as soon as we could to answer a craigs list ad for the first item we've been able to think of to keep our baby safe...a super yard!

We have always loved craigslist shopping. It's like going to garage sales but you know exactly where to go and you can get bigger, better items. Wonderful invention, and now it has our extra special gratitude because we can put Kendra down without worrying that we won't be able to find her again. Whew, that was a close one! We still have other stuff to get and do in the apartment. The tarantulas are all out of reach, and we also got a baby gate, but it's just a matter of time before she can reach the second shelf, open cabinets, and operate power tools!

Our advice to people expecting a first baby: take whatever baby stuff people give you and be grateful. You will need it before you can bat your eyes twice and it's really nice to have it on hand *before* you pull half your hair out with stress. When babies need new things, they need it suddenly and urgently. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ego boost

Heber said something that made me laugh. "It must be great to be an infant, y'know because everywhere you go everybody thinks you are AWESOME." So true!

It's also an ego boost to be the mother of an infant. No matter what I do, she thinks I am AWESOME. But there's also an ego boost that comes when other people think she's awesome, too.

Take a trip to Sam's. Now add this:

She's been sitting up pretty well on her own lately, so this week I've started letting her sit in the front of the shopping carts (after wiping them down with a Germ-X wipe). It's a whole new world out there for her, now! She loves looking around at everything. And everybody loves looking at her. Seriously, she elicited a reaction from every single person who laid eyes on her. She does a lot better with strangers these days (though we're not completely out of the water yet--I'm sorry, Dad) and she doesn't scream every time someone looks at her. She even smiles back often enough. It's pretty cute.

I love being a mommy! I love watching her explore the world around her...even when she turns around and starts grabbing at things to either pull into or out of our cart (I know, I know, the fun has just begun in that department). Sitting up so well already, she really will be off to college before we know it.

And did you notice? Her hair is totally thick and long enough to do a clip without a headband!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The season of her discontent

Kendra doesn't really cry very often (though she's been significantly more fussy since we got home from St. Louis--I think she misses having flocks of people to always play with, coo over and otherwise entertain her) and one of the reasons for that is she does this for a long time before what ever she needs is bothering her enough to cry.

Just to clarify, no, she's not working things out. Her diaper was totally clean after I made this video. I checked.

How to fold a fitted sheet


We have created a monster...

But a really, really super cute one. :)

And, she's teething (supposedly, though we have yet to see any evidence of anything cutting through these gums), she needs COLD things.

And, she's SUPPOSED to have juice. These things have juice in them. Nutrition!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The Farns' family has been in some serious need of gettin' out of the dang city and stretching our legs. Lucky for us, there is a whole house full of more Farnses just a few hundred miles away! So, we took an extra long Labor Day weekend and Wednesday evening and we made our way to St. Louis to visit family there.

Have I mentioned another perk of this apartment is the time it shaves off of our trips south out of town? Seriously, it took an hour and a half off of our travel time (but only 19 miles off the distance--the traffic is that bad).

And us coming to visit is fun for them, too. All the fun of getting to hold and play with another baby without having to actually raise one! Sweet! That puts a smile on everyone's face.

We decided to hit the zoo on Thursday. For those of you unfamiliar with the zoo in St. Louis, it's amazing. And free. We wanted to go for us, but we were curious how Kendra would react to the animals. Unfortunately, her sight isn't developed enough to let her see things far away, so she was completely oblivious to most of the animals there.

Lucky for us, though, there is an up-close-and-personal penguin exhibit. She loved it! We thought it was pretty cool too, these guys were close enough you could reach out and touch them (but there is someone there to make sure that you don't). However, I found out the hard way that it also means they're close enough to totally splash you with nasty-smelling penguin water. Yuck. I smelled pretty bad for the rest of the day, but it was totally worth it!

Grant really liked the bears. I think it's because he feels akin their lifestyle of holing themselves up in dark, dark caves to sleep.

On Friday and through most of Saturday, the menfolk headed out to combine their two main hobbies: hiking/camping and tarantulas. The hunt was on to capture a tarantula in the wild!

There aren't any pictures because Grant forgot a camera and they were totally thwarted in their quest and came home soaked through, sleep-deprived, sore, stinky and empty-handed. So sad... While they were out, I met up with my Dad and Michelle in a rough half-way point between St. Louis and Kansas City, where they live. I don't have any pictures of that either, because I know they both hate having their picture taken--but it was a lot of fun. Kendra cried every time Grandpa held her, but she made up for it by being exceptionally adorable and giving plenty of smiles and sharing other forms of cuteness.

The rest of the weekend was fairly event-less, but we all had such a good time together!

Mmmmm, fists! It's quite shocking how large the items are that she can cram into her mouth these days.

I'm not sure who had more fun playing this weekend, Kendra or her cousins. I felt like such a party pooper every time the youngest came up to me and asked, "Where's baby Kendra?" and I answered, "She's sleeping..." Such disappointment!

And I better post a video for good measure! Most of us were in the other room watching clips on YouTube of comedy skits by Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry and other British funnies when I noticed Kendra was being thoroughly entertained and cracked up by something else.

We think this footage speaks for itself: Kendra totally needs some siblings!

We'll just have to get by with trekking it down to see her cousins (and Grandpa!) just as often as we can manage until then... Oh, golly darn! But I seriously doubt any additions to our family will impede our desire to come visit. :)

Cutest Pumpkin in the Patch

This picture doesn't really match with the other things I have to post today, but I deemed it blog-worthy.

We decided not to get Kendra a Halloween costume this year, but I just couldn't pass up this little onesie for only $3! Score, Wal-Mart!