big girl

eyes, thumb

yesterday eva had some funny milestones. first, she played along with her friends at playgroup more than she has before. they were all splashing around at a water table, and eva joined in. (for the uninitiated, this is basically what it sounds like: a sandbox on toddler-sized stilts but with water instead of sand. or, a pool that is too little and too high to get into, at least in theory, but you can imagine how that might play out.) she stood up along the edge with the boys and held on with one hand while she splashed away. it was so cute, she looked like such a kid to me. they all got totally soaked, so there was much stripping down of the little ones shortly thereafter. oh, and the other little milestone: i set her down in the yard sans picnic quilt, so she busied herself by gathering fistsful of grass and shoving it into her mouth. today i noticed she had dirt under her fingernails (they're due to be clipped and thus are a bit long). this is a first. she got dirty, from playing! i think i'm being a bit weird, but i thought it was really something worth noting.

i took some photos yesterday, and i like this one because of her eyes. she looks at me like this when she nurses, so it just looks really familiar and cozy to me.


cold cold

First Christmas
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
It's cold. I know, it's not North Dakota cold, but then again, our mass produced suburban Texas house has no insulation to speak of. Any residual heat drifts upstairs, so our living room is cold cold. I mention this because said cold was the catalyst for one of those parenting moments where you wonder if you're particularly qualified to be responsible for a small, mostly helpless human.

I was sitting with Eva on the couch enjoying some blueberry pomegranate juice, and noticed something odd. "Hey, Larry, it's weird, her mouth is all purple." (You may see where I'm going with this, what with all the foreshadow above.) For just a second or so, my brain was working on a red herring connection to the blueberry juice, but I couldn't see how it would be on *her* mouth... ohhhh, her lips are blue! Because she's freezing to death in our stupid drafty living room! Yikes. I'd read about this in books, and always wondered if it was a subtle thing when babies' lips turned blue or if it would be obvious. Let's just say it was quite clear. She spent the rest of the day in a sleep sack (Larry says they should make them for grown-ups, he's sick of being cold, too).

In addition to being cold, she has a cold -- her first one, which means we've been lucky so far. Her little cough sounds terrible (especially at night), but overall it's not that bad and she doesn't seem too bothered. She wakes up often (because it seems when she puts her thumb in her mouth to soothe herself back to sleep, she suddenly can't breathe very well), so we're all pretty exhausted and I can't get much else done when she won't sleep until 11 or so, which is why I'm writing this at 2 a.m.

To accompany the cold theme, here's a photo from Christmas in the North. And the solids update: she's added applesauce and Japanese rice crackers (thanks for the tip, Elizabeth!), and today she projectile vomited after a single bite of smushed up banana so we'll hold off with the banana for a while. She just woke up again, poor thing, off I go...


early friends

Originally uploaded by lewing.
to go along with today's post of our group, here's a photo i came across recently that makes me smile. eva was 5 days old, and sarah and liam (7.5 mo) came to meet her. eva was smaller than her friends then and she still is, but someday she'll catch up. you know, more or less.


today we had playgroup, which was also a surprise birthday party for ella. we decided to see if we could manage a group photo of all the little ones, and due to the fact that they were easily disoriented by the sudden and loud strains of "itsy bitsy spider" coming from the mamas, we were successful. i think it will be really fun to do this periodically so we can watch them grow up together. so cute!

eva had so much fun today playing with her friends, it's really a treat to watch her become more social, even though she's the youngest of this group. oh, and she had her first ride in the new car today! what a treat.

top photo, l-r: carter (13 mo), river (12 mo), ella (12 mo), ewan (15 mo), thomas (seated, 9 mo), nick (15 mo), eva (seated, 7 mo), tyler (seated in front, 15 mo), liam (14.5 mo), ashley (10 mo), and piper (14 mo). not pictured, milosh (12 mo).

bottom photo, front (l-r): wendy and ella, meredith and river, kristy and eva, sorcha and thomas, kori and carter. rear (l-r): christal and ashley, stephanie (the twins' pal) and nick, kelley and ewan, sarah and liam, alyssa and tyler, susan and piper. not pictured, elizabeth and milosh.



Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
[i took this shot friday with some of the new photo accessories larry bought along with my birthday telephoto lens. i like her eyelashes, and how her skin looks so luminous.]

it seems like in life with a baby, it's so easy to convince yourself (or to let others convince you) to focus on all the wrong things. examples of such things: the perpetual basket of unfolded laundry, the mess in the kitchen, your lack of ambition or lack of follow-through on what ambition you do have, all the pre-pregnancy clothes you still can't wear, and the fact that the pizza guy has been to your house so many times lately that he greets you like a friend even after your dog bites his shoe (sadly, that's actually true, it happened today). i don't know if it's the sheer weight of responsibility for another tiny human or simply the lack of structure in the day-to-day of it, but somehow having a baby around can make a person feel really buried by the details.

but here's the thing, i think, that balances it out. if you can make yourself stop, maybe just stare at that little beautiful face for a minute, that can be enough to make everything that so recently seemed important and overwhelming just fall away. it doesn't work all the time, but just often enough to keep me sane -- i'll look and i find all i need right there in the rise and fall of her chest while she sleeps. i think the most important thing i'm learning from eva is to calm down and be present. i've always been terrible at this, but i'm making progress. all those things my brain rushes about worrying over can wait when i see those laughing, wondering eyes looking back at me. and as for focus, this is where it belongs.


first solids

Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
ah, carrots. they really do help one's eyesight except if one puts
them directly into one's eye. last weekend eva had a taste of her
first solid food, which was steamed carrots mashed with a fork. she seemed to have sort of a neutral response, not loving them but not spitting them out either. she did make funny faces, though. it's as though she's spent most of her life thus far trying to get everything within reach into her mouth, and now that one of those things is actually food, she's rethinking her whole agenda. yesterday (we're in college station) eva tried some avocado and had about the same reaction, but less intensely. i think she's warming up to this whole solids thing. of course, solids in the first year are less for nutrition and more for social development and to let them explore tastes and textures. not surprisingly, the conventional wisdom about the vast amounts of solid food babies should eat is based on babies weaned by 6-9 months or those on formula. it took me a while to figure that out... i couldn't see why my breastfed baby should be expected to eat so much food.


great outdoors

hiking, mama
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
The past three weekends we've been doing lots of things outdoors (gotta love winters in Texas). We went to Zilker Park with John and Karen and little cousin Sarah and walked over to Shady Grove after, where I enjoyed my first margarita since mid-2004. The following weekend I walked Eva around the whole of Town Lake (well, MoPac to So. 1st, about a 4.5 mile loop) while Larry worked at Austin Java Company. Apparently Eva has mostly lost her desire to fall asleep in the stroller -- the last time she was in it 6 weeks prior she slept when she got tired, but no longer. So after 20 minutes of only being content if I was belting out songs from My Fair Lady (which is one way to turn heads on the hike-and-bike trail, by the way), I put her in the sling and she was asleep before I took more than five steps. The next day we had a picnic with Gram and eyed the cool Zilker playscape -- next winter, Eva, we're so there. And this last weekend we went to the Barton Creek Greenbelt and hiked about with our friend Matt and played with the new telephoto lens. Eva enjoyed the Tibetian carry in her sling (see photo), as taught to us by Wendy (she gets props because Eva loved it so much).

The first lesson is this -- Austin is such an amazing place because it (somewhat paradoxically for a city) connects you with nature through it's wonderful park/trail/greenbelt system. The second lesson is one I have to relearn all the time, but I'm writing it down in hopes that it will stick for once: On various of these days I was feeing down or kind of blah before heading out to commune with nature and whatnot (once even having to force myself to leave the house), and each and every time I felt so renewed and energetic after spending some quality time outside. Not just that, but Eva loved it and always seems more content when we're outside. It works wonders. This should not be so difficult for me to remember.

Oh, and yesterday, I got to hold a 36-hour-old baby (Cassia). This bears mentioning because how often does one get to hold a baby with an age measured in hours? For me, this is the second one ever (after Eva), and I feel quite lucky to have been included in her early days on this planet. Ah, life... it's so amazing.


the seven month report

today eva is seven months old! during the past month she: got her first two teeth, mastered sitting up, started babbling more than ever (consonants have moved from b&p to v&f and recently to g&k, it's "kha gha kha!" all day long), spent her first time with a non-family caregiver, decided papa is just so very hilarious (especially when one of them is upside-down), gained much interest in watching the dog (and grabbing her when lemma consents by not fleeing), learned (and forgot and relearned) how to use a sippy cup, was in a car accident (i'm finally okay about driving, but still panic and can barely breathe every time i have to come to a complete stop on the highway), has started taking much delight in the shadow of her hand (and to a lesser extent, chewing on the remote control), outgrew a ton of clothes, had her first (fairly mild) illness, figured out how to get her feet into her mouth, experienced swinging in the fun playground swings, fell and bonked her head on the hardwood floor causing both of us to cry, had her first official solid food (carrots, two days ago, more on that later), started spending even more time (3 or 4 days each week) seeing her friends, produced a dimple in her left cheek completely out of nowhere, and decided baths are pretty much the greatest thing ever. so that's the update for those of you far away; as you can see, she's had a busy month. no wonder we're a little tired today. [the photo captions always disappear when i insert a second photo, but that is eva having her first meal ever and eva eating a few days ago. she still looks up at me with wide eyes, but no longer has vernix in her ear. aaah, vernix.]

today our friends jenny and gregory welcomed cassia jepkemei collins into the world. we are so happy for them. eva stared at cassia's photo and clearly can't wait to meet her. welcome, cassia!



yesterday i arrived at playgroup (late, oops) to find it had been transformed into a surprise 30th birthday party for me! the wonderful (and sneaky) mamas from my group planned a whole party, complete with decorations, tons of food, a yummy cake, and champagne, all without my having any clue. i say it all the time, but i can't believe how lucky i am to have found this group of moms. i told them yesterday that knowing them helps me to be a better mama, and i can't imagine anything better than that. i honestly can't picture what being a mom without this kind of daily instrumental and emotional support would be like. anyway, i could go on and on, but i'll restrain myself. my first ever surprise party... i just had to share.


first date

got mom?
Originally uploaded by Kristy and Eva.
yesterday was my 30th birthday. larry and i had our first "date" since eva's arrival... we went out to lunch while two friends of mine (along with their babies) watched eva. i had a glass of wine and even dessert, and i sat down the entire time, no bouncing! it was quite lovely, but we returned to find eva hadn't enjoyed her time so much. it's pretty hit-or-miss, so i'm convincing myself not to feel bad about it.

this was made possible by our babysitting co-op. it's pretty genius, really. we all start with 3 hours credit, and then watch each other's babies during daytime hours as requested. payment is made with our currency of plastic counting bears, worth 15 minutes each. often, two moms will watch a baby because 3:2 is a better ratio than 2:1, and in that case payment is split between the moms. it's really nice to be able to have a doctor's appointment or get a haircut -- or even go on a date for your birthday -- without having to worry about finding and paying some random sitter. plus, since this was born out of our attachment parenting playgroup, we all have the same basic philosophy about parenting and know each other (and each other's kids) pretty well. brilliant.

this photo is from two days ago. i love it when her whole face lights up like that.