Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Daddy's little girl

If you look REAL close, you might see him actually wrapped around her little finger...

Getting into TROUBLE!

Not really. But sort of.

Kendra really does pull herself up to anything and everything she can.

Things like computer towers (though when she sees me coming with a camera, she's so delighted to turn around and play, she always plops on her tuche before I can properly capture the cuteness).

And bathtubs.

And bookshelves.

I've totally given up keeping this shelf of DVDs alphabetized. Grant says she acts like Yoda in Luke Skywalker's camp when she hits this shelf. It's pretty funny, she grabs one and puts in her mouth and then drops it as if to say, "Nope...that's not the right one..." and does it with as many as we let her. Eh. It doesn't hurt her or the discs, I'm not fussed.

You already knew that she's been pulling herself up to her Play Yard. This behavior, however, is totally new.

I have no idea what she's doing...but this is almost always a precursor to this:

The "Let-Me-Out!" cry. She does pretty good with keeping herself entertained in there for long periods of time (for an 8-month-old) but eventually, enough is enough and she wants to roam free.

And another un-classified one we better share them cus she's just so darn cute.

When we go through her little bedtime routine, this always happens. She rests her head on my shoulder and my heart just melts with motherly love.

Just another reminder that at the end of the day, she's our darling little girl.

Startin' em young...

Since I was a nanny, I have been really into and dedicated to working out (except that one time I was pregnant and all but completely stopped doing it for half my pregnancy, whoops). Though I've had a long-standing love affair with elliptical machines, my real passion is step aerobics. Someday, I'm going to be an instructor.

Well, Kendra loves my step as much as I do...

She makes me so proud! Her first step is going to be an L Step, I'm telling ya.

She also loves my big ball. She crawls all over pushing it around. The poor dear, though...she gets really freaked out when it rolls toward her and she can't stop it.

Ahhhh, good times. But this is why we keep the ball out of the way most of the time. We got her a nice Kendra-sized ball of her own to push around and she loves it, too.

In other news, turns out, a woman's curvy body has many functions. Take hips, for example.

Perfect resting spot for little tuckuses.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love, love, LOVE being a mommy?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gettin' around

We hope you're not sick of videos of Kendra. If you are, you're totally reading the wrong blog.

So about half an hour ago, I realized it was about time to put Kendra to bed, but darn it, I just wasn't ready. I got down on the floor to play with her and realized when she came to me that she was moving in a totally new manner.

Moments like this, we totally proudly announce to the universe, "Look! We made a person! And she can crawl!!"

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Kendra loves her Daddy very, very much.

There's something just extra special about him. About his face, specifically.

This video is actually two months old, however, this picture is not.

I think they make her look super smart, don't you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Kendra made an interesting discovery last week in the car.

For the first time, she realized I was in the car with her!

This picture doesn't capture it well because it was taken at the end of a long trip and she was pretty tired. But she pretty much thinks it's the coolest thing that she can turn her head and cran her neck and make eye contact with me. So I try to engage her plenty when we're in the car now to remind that she's not alone!

Remembering Grandpa

I received the news yesterday that my great-grandfather passed away, so naturally I've been thinking of him quite a bit. It's more good news than bad, as he was in his nineties and had been suffering failing health for quite some time. I've smiled more than cried as I've looked back on his memory and I feel a lot of peace knowing that I was able to say "Goodbye" (I've visited him every time I went home since I moved away knowing it could be the last time I saw him).

He's always been one of the coolest men on the planet in my book and I'd like to take a minute to tell you why.

He wasn't a man of many words in the late years that I knew him, but the words I remember were mostly jokes. I wasn't born until he was already an old man, his hands weathered from a lifetime of working with them to provide for his family and every time we visited, we drove past the limestone house he built with them. For as long as his health and mobility could allow it, he drove the four miles into town twice a day to play dominos with a few other old men in the back of the bar on the main drag. In the summer, he sat the shade of the woods and whittled (and gave me an extra pocket knife so I could join him as often as I cared to) and often made small tops out of wooden spools thread used to come on. He also fished every day he was able, and one of the highlights of my childhood was the time he took me fishing with him when I was about 8 years old and I caught one myself!

He wore overalls everyday of his life, and almost always when the occasion called for dress attire he chose dress overalls. I laughed when I called my great-aunt and she told me she was out to go pick up a new pair of them to bury him in. I think that's the way he'd want it. This picture is from when he was Grand Marshall of the town parade one summer after I moved to Jersey--dress overalls.

He had a little rat terrier called Spot as a companion in the later years before he went into a nursing home and though I never saw him actually smoke a cigar, I rarely remember walking into his place without seeing one in his hand.

I was very blessed in the last few times I saw him. He suffered from dementia but he always knew who I was when I came. I was prepared for him not to, so when his eyes lit up with recognition and he said, "Well looky there!" as I walked in the room when I went to see him after my mission, my own eyes filled with tears of gratitude. His eyes also lit up when I saw him the last time. Though a moment later when he saw my 7 months pregnant belly he gasped and said in a low voice, "You've been having some bad fun!"

That's Grandpa.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Green parents=Good parents!

In the more recent pictures of Kendra along with her first and favorite toy, her colorful teething toys and her stackable rings, you may or may not have noticed some other things in her play yard or even in her hand.

A while back, I realized that when she gets bored and needs something new, she doesn't need a "toy", just a new object. So, one day when she was crawling around in the kitchen while I was doing the dishes I handed her an 8 oz Dixie cup. She was entertained for an entire hour (which, for the record is not how long it took me to do the dishes). So, I began looking for objects around the house she might be just as entertained with, as she's already proven she can dismantle Dixie cups into pieces that are small enough to become choking hazards.

And now, you might notice that objects like these are in our pictures nowadays.

And she loves them! The 5 qt ice cream bucket is probably her favorite from this group of toys. I put a few small colorful plastic toys in there so it makes a fun rattling toy when she grasps it by the handle and shakes it around. And, when it's sitting on its own, she's discovered it makes a handy drum as well.

The bubble mailer was also a big hit, as well as the travel size wipes container (there's a toy in that one too, so it also doubles as a rattle--I'm open in the coming months it will also be a good toy for motor skills as she figures out how to open it up).

However, we've gotten the biggest bang for our buck from the yogurt cup. It's just an indestructible Dixie cup, and she'll chase it around for the longest time.

So, don't think that we let her play with garbage. I promise, I put it through a test and clean it before I hand it to her.

Turns out, she doesn't know the difference between the stackable rings I spent $7 on and the yogurt cup left over after a $0.50 treat anyway.

Reading and books

Apparently, when babies start pulling up to one thing, it's just the first thing and only a matter of time until they start pulling up to everything. Who knew?

So, it's official. All of the second shelves in our house are toast. Good thing we've already moved the tarantulas to a higher shelf.

Actually, the particular shelf she's at is the one with all of her books on it. We've stocked it recently with a total E-bay score from our childhoods.

Yep. Those are many of the beloved Serendipity books written by Stephen Cosgrove and illustrated by Robin James--not the entire series, but I think this is an impressive sampling. Grant and I both knew a few of them as children and this collection is a good smattering of ones we both knew as well as a few neither of us did. Though Kendra's not nearly old enough to sit still through a whole story, I still read her at least one each day. All the sites and books say it's good for babies to hear stories read even if they're not listening. Builds their vocabulary. And, with these stories, eventually she'll learn a clever moral too.

Actually, we've been to the branch of the library enough times, the staff there recognize her. Better get her love for books started early...

She sure is our darling little girl...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crawling Demo

We caught Kendra's very first actual crawling on video...but she's come a long way, baby!

Yes, it's just a wounded soldier crawl, but don't let that fool you. She's totally figured out how to get to where ever she wants to go and fast.

She'll be off to college before we turn around...

In case you didn't catch that--the "prize" she was so enthusiastically coming toward wasn't her loving mother's arms. It was the video camera IN her loving mother's arms.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


The other day Kendra pulled herself to her feet for the first time in her crib. It was very exciting for everyone. When Mom and Dad were here they hooked us up with this little number...

She loves it! And she's just tall enough that she can put her little feet down. Maybe that has something to do with the sudden emergence of this behavior:

She pulls herself up all by herself and stands around. It's the cutest little thing to see when you walk into a room.

After a while she gets really tired of standing, but she hasn't figured out how to put herself back down. Then she makes a lot of noise until we come get her and set her down. Very cute. And it keeps us on our toes.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Best Time of Year

Winter in Chicago can be bitter: The biting wind, temperatures incompatible with carbon-based life, snow whipping around and sticking to any part of you not covered with big coats, evil penguins thirsty for blood. Not a pretty picture.

But it has one redeeming feature: winter is the season of INSULATION!

Some of you may remember my earlier work on window insulation and caulking. It was fun, and it helped quite a bit. Well, Ashley wasn't so convinced on the second point but she certainly observed the first. Of course, we weren't paying for heat in that apartment, just trying to adjust it. Well we are paying for our own heat here, and that's a strong incentive. That means it's time to pull out the big guns.

That's right, styrofoam insulation. The cold passes through the windows, but it stops there (ok it's actually heat getting out, but you get the idea). Hard core heat stoppage. Put packing tape (of which we have a lot after our last move) around the edges to prevent cold air infiltration, and we are good to go. This is Kendra's room, which is the most important because we keep a space heater in there to keep her comfy. The tarantulas don't get that kind of love. Nor does Daddy. Not yet anyway.

The styrofoam also leads to moderate light stoppage, which is actually kind of a plus in some windows, like in the bedroom. In the summer I use aluminum foil as the first light barrier in our room (before the blackout curtains) because it reflects the radiant heat out. Now that it's winter I'm thinking of changing my strategy. I'm thinking styrofoam and then black paper. Diffuse the light, absorb some of it it on the inside of the house, and maybe the outside light will help heat the house. On the other hand, the warm inside of the house radiates heat and that escapes through the window if we don't use aluminum foil (think of the mylar emergency blankets that make all the difference if you are trapped in a cold car). I'm not sure which effect dominates. Anyone who has some technical insight on the subject is welcome to share with me. I guess I could apply styrofoam, then black paper, and then aluminum, so any outside rays not absorbed by the paper will be reflected off the aluminum and have a second pass at the paper (not to mention the foam) as it heads out.

We haven't decided exactly how many windows to do. Certainly all that single paned glass in the kitchen and all bedroom windows. Actually probably all the windows in the house except the two in the family room that look out over the park. Those are the only windows we really look out anyway. Who want's a view of the fire escape or the street? The remaining windows will get bubble wrap. And we may keep a token window uncovered in case we want to see the pretty snow.

Then I'll go around all the windows and caulk. As we learned in the last apartment, caulking is king when it comes to keeping your house warm. That and cuddling. Gosh I love this time of year.

Eeventually I'll probably even light the pilot light on the furnace and heat the house the old fashioned way. I guess insulation technology can only go so far. More's the pity.

The newest addition to the family

I introduced Grant to Friends last year and he loved it. He loved it so much we rented the whole series on Netflix. And his love for me combined with his love for Friends made it a no-brainer when I was able to haggle someone on Craig's List selling ALL 10 SEASONS for all of $60 (everybody keeps telling me I fit right in with this family because I'm always talking about what a great deal I got on something).

I've decided we're totally bringing these to the hospital the next time I'm in labor instead of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Since we know I don't have babies in a hurry anyway, there should be enough here to keep us entertained for long enough. Even if I end up pushing for two hours again.

Though I've totally decided I'll take the grievous labor and delivery over the grievous pregnancy ANY day. Labor and delivery is just one day out of your life (usually) but pregnancy is almost a whole year.

Growing up so fast!

It occurred to me that we haven't blogged a significant development milestone that we've long gotten used to from our darling little girl.

She's totally been sitting upright unsupported for well over a month now! Actually, at this point, she's so good at it that she can put herself there all by herself from being on her belly. Neat, hunh?

Now, you'll really know that I've procrastinated blogging that development because just today she did something that totally shocked me. I walked into her room to find this:

Yup. She's totally pulling herself up to standing. On her feet. She started doing it on her knees while Grant's parents were here last weekend she started pulling herself up to her knees, but in the 3 days they've been gone, she figured out how to get the rest of the way there.

It's true, before we know it she really will be on her way to college! Weird.

But, at the end of the day, she's always our darling little girl.