Sunday, November 29, 2009

So much to be thankful for!

Less than a week after our little girl turned 9 months old, we gathered for our first Thanksgiving as a family. We've had a lot of family firsts over these 9 months, and there are plenty more to come, but this one was pretty special. Although Christmas will surely be the most noteworthy holiday for us, I like to think that Thanksgiving is the most family-focused. No gifts, no decorations, no nauseating songs, just good food and lots of relatives. And pumpkin roll.

Miranda started her vacation the previous Thursday, so we'd had lots of great time together by Thanksgiving, which was very nice. When the day came, we got up early, as usual. After a delicious homemade apple tart breakfast, Miranda and I decided to try starting a new family tradition: watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I've seen parts of it, but never watched the whole thing. That didn't change. Turns out, the broadcast of the parade contains very little actual parade footage. Maybe they show more later in the broadcast, but we didn't stick around to find out. We were so bored with the filler "entertainment" that we all decided to take a nap.

Then, of course, we skipped lunch to prepare for the coming feast. Once we were all packed up and ready to go, we headed down to Morgan Hill for the annual gathering at Uncle Danny and Aunt Patty's house. It was a classic scene: relatives that hardly ever see each other, football on TV, and a turkey in the oven. After a couple hours of talking and drinking, dinner began around 4. Nothing says Thanksgiving like 2 dozen people sitting at a table (or in our case, 3 tables) to share an amazing meal. This year, we got to bring a new addition to the group!

Now that Hayley is 9 months old, she can have meat, so she got her first taste of turkey. Turns out she would rather just eat the sweet potato pie:

Much like many of the adults, she enjoyed an after-dinner drink, then passed out:

In all seriousness, I think our first Thanksgiving with our baby girl was a great success. We had a wonderful time, and there really is so much to be thankful for: a loving family (immediate and extended), good friends, a safe home, nice weather and a big TV. What I am most thankful for is this: not only is Hayley alive and thriving, she seems to be a genuinely happy baby. As Miranda said, that's what we wanted most for her.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You'll always be my baby, right?

When I was pregnant I spent 9 months envisioning a life I'd share with my child. I day dreamed for hours about what my little girl would look like, about starting our own traditions and about seeing my husband become a father.

Then my little Hayley joined the world and all of my hopes came to life. I thought that once she was here my day dreaming would end but I continue to look towards the future and have spent the last 9 months still excited about what that future may hold.

Last Saturday Hayley turned 9 months old and I just can't believe how much she's grown in such a short amount of time. We took her in for a check up and found out that at 22lbs 9oz and 28 1/4", Hayley has grown into a perfectly healthy little girl. Her development is right on track and she continues to learn something new everyday. For example, on her 9 month b-day she waved bye-bye to grandma for the first time!

I'm so proud of my little munchkin. She's smart, beautiful and funny. But most importantly, she's happy. And with all that day dreaming I've ever done for her, that's all I've ever wanted.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Today we celebrated our first Halloween together as a family. We did so by dressing up as another family: the infamous Three Bears. You can probably guess which of us was Papa Bear, Mama Bear, or Baby Bear:

Of course, the classic story isn't complete without the home-invading, porridge-eating miscreant Goldilocks:

Hayley was feeling a little under the weather, so we started our day of festivities later than originally planned. Once we picked up Aunt Kati in the afternoon, we piled into the car in full costume and headed out. First stop: Starbucks! The cashier got into the Halloween spirit and labeled our drinks with our character names:

Sufficiently energized, we arrived at a pumpkin-carving party hosted by Miranda's boss. Miranda encouraged me to join in the fun, despite the fact that I can't even remember the last time I carved a pumpkin. So I gutted a small one and drew on my design, a common one among gamers: Pac-Man chasing some ghosts. However, my skills being nonexistent, Miranda took over the actual carving. Turns out she is pretty darn good!

Afterward we headed back to Grandma's house where Hayley took a nap and had a bottle:

At this point, we sent Goldilocks on her way (the punk sat in our chairs and slept in our beds!) and went to our usual final destination of the evening, the annual Haunted Holiday in Redwood City. Fun and treats were had. We called it a night and brought Hayley home for her bedtime. Apparently, she saved a trick for Papa Bear:

By the way, if you ever want to be a bear for Halloween, but you don't want to buy a whole bear suit, all I can say is good luck. For some strange reason, simple bear ears are extremely hard to find. We ended up with some cat/mouse ears from the internet that we passed off as bear ears. Who knew such an item would be so rare?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The sweetest sound

It's been a while since we got Hayley laughing on camera. She gets into a giggly mood so randomly, but when she does, she doesn't hold back. Tonight, Miranda took off her leg warmers and she thought it was the most hilarious thing ever. So I grabbed the camera:

I love that sound!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New videos

To start, allow me to introduce Hayley Houdini:

The first time she did this, before I got the camera going, we really couldn't find the pacifier for a little while. Turns out she had hidden it under her so she was basically sitting on it. Sneaky baby.

Next we have some quick cuteness. Hayley's mobility has been increasing substantially, and before she started crawling, she was rolling everywhere. But sometimes she is too lazy to roll:

And now we come to Hayley's first moments of crawling. For a couple months she's been doing everything (rolling side to side, backing up, rocking back and forth in place) except for crawling. She finally got her first taste of forward motion and she hasn't looked back. Technically, it's still a sort of dead man's crawl since her tummy touches the floor while she moves, but that doesn't change the fact that we officially NEED baby gates. Look out, here comes Hayley:

Our final video features a time-honored tradition, the inaugural tasting of lemon:

As you can see, instead of making hilariously disgusted faces, throwing the lemon away and giving her parents dirty looks, Hayley acts like it's a wondrous new flavor of which she can't get enough. She does seem confused through most of it, but hardly disgusted. Maybe this is a good thing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

7 months

Hayley turned 7 months old on Monday. Geoff and I agree that 7 months is starting to sound like "kid" (rather than "baby") and we just can't believe it.

Hayley still isn't crawling but she's very clever, using a series of turns between her belly and back or scootching backwards to get where she wants to go. She's remained very curious and wants to play with everything which has Geoff and I very concerned for when she's truly mobile.

This past week was rough for me, for all of us, as work was very demanding of my time. There were a few days where the only times I was home was while she was asleep and I ached to hold my little girl in my arms. Geoff was so amazing during all that, holding down the fort beautifully.

The past few days when I come home from work Hayley is so excited to see me she makes these hilarious grunt/yell noises and tenses up her body so much she starts to shake. I try to spend time with her the rest of the evening and I continue to be impressed each day by that kid. Not only is she a genius, she just might be the funniest person I know. Every night as I hold her, asleep in my arms, I turn to Geoff in total amazement that we made this precious little life.

No matter how big a kid you become, Hayley, you're always going to be my baby.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Today, we celebrated a special day. A day I will only see once in my life: September 9th, 2009. This day wasn't only special because of the date. The Beatles: Rock Band came out today (along with the CD remasters). I took Hayley to a nearby Gamestop to pick up my reserved copy, then headed to Best Buy to get the replica of John Lennon's Rickenbacker 325.

Hayley got to see a damn good re-creation of the Beatles (with daddy on guitar) playing some classics at the Cavern Club and the Ed Sullivan Show. When mommy got home, she took over guitar while daddy sang. We're going to play through the entire saga of the Beatles, and hopefully one day Hayley will be able to join us. It is my sincere hope that this game will help my daughter, and a whole new generation, fall in love with the Beatles the same way I did.

Friday, August 28, 2009

And what a great beginning it has been

People always warn you when you're expecting your first child that it will be the end of your social life once the little one arrives. I was under the impression that we'd never again get to have a Game Night with friends, go to the movies, go out to dinner or do any of the other things we enjoyed doing when it was just the 2 of us. Well, as of last night I think we've done everything on that list- and more.

Last night Geoff and I took Hayley to her first movie. Out local theater chain offers a Date Night once a week where they play a recent movie with lowered volume and dimmed lighting specifically for parents and their children. Last night's movie selection was The Time Traveler's Wife. Hayley was pretty good during the movie, about as good as you'd expect a 6 month old to be.

I think all those people offering advice on life with a new child have it really wrong. Hayley has added so much to our lives that I feel that we do even MORE now that she's along for the ride. Now we go to the park in the evenings and enjoy the evening as a family while Hayley giggles on the swings. Now we wake up early on Sunday mornings and stroll along the local farmer's market. Now we plan play dates and meet new people, make new friends based on our common bond: our intense love and pride for our newest additions. Now we go to music class demos and Gymboree class demos and try something new all to Hayley's delight.

I argue that, in our case, our lives together certainly didn't end but rather truly began with the birth of our little love bug.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Another progress report

Today was Hayley's 6 month check up with our pediatrician. Geoff and I were anxious to see how much our girl has grown and we were happy to hear Hayley weighed in at 19lbs. 2oz (a 2lbs. 10oz. gain from 2 months ago) and is 27 inches long. This means she only has a few more pounds and/or inches before we are forced to move her into her larger car seat- wow!

Hayley had 3 shots this visit and I must say, she took them like a champ. There were a few seconds of crying after each shot but that's it. Last time she had shots it took her a few days to be back to her regular self so I decided it was best for me to take the entire day off of work to be with her but aside from a long nap this morning Hayley's showed no difference in her demeanor. This kid never ceases to amaze me.

The pediatrician said she looks absolutely perfect so whatever we're doing seems to be working.

I can't believe how fast she's growing and developing!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Major (minor) milestones

On the verge of turning 6 months old, our little girl has experienced some more firsts. Last week, Hayley ate her first fruit in the form of applesauce and the week before that, she had her first carrots. As you can see in the video she was not a big fan of carrots, but subsequent feedings changed that. Hayley's repertoire of solids now includes three different foods!

Last night, we tried putting Hayley in a real high chair for the first time. We went out to Chili's for dinner and brought along her chair/shopping cart cover. I was a little nervous about doing this, but it turned out to be a rousing success. She was happy and well-behaved for the whole meal and she never even came close to falling out.

Here's a first I am a bit sad to mention, as it represents a lost parenting battle. Miranda convinced me that it was okay to paint Hayley's toenails. I am generally of the opinion that things like nail polish and ear piercings are not appropriate for babies, but apparently Hayley has been staring quite enviously at mommy's and gramma's painted toenails, so here we are:

For those keeping score, this does NOT mean she gets to have her ears pierced any time soon. Anyway, something else happened recently that isn't really a milestone, but is nonetheless interesting and fun to see. She's had some toys that hang over her bouncy seat for a long time now, the middle one being the only one that is held up by velcro. I guess Hayley has been lifting weights in her crib, because the velcro is no longer sufficient to prevent her from yanking the toy right off the loop.

And finally, a milestone that is of great importance to me personally. Last week, we realized that Hayley can't be swaddled any more at night, since her rolling skills have blossomed. This has been quite a challenge, since the swaddling was so instrumental in helping her sleep through the night. The first 3 nights, we had to bring her into bed with us about halfway through in order for Hayley to continue sleeping. Then last night, the impossible happened. Not only did she sleep by herself in the crib with no swaddle until morning, she slept longer than me! I have never once gotten up without being awakened by a murmuring or crying baby. And it wasn't like I got up early. It was so refreshing to wake up of my volition and start my day on my own. Of course, it only lasted about a half hour, but it was still amazing. Enough so that I felt it deserved a picture:

Side note: it seems Hayley is taking after her mommy and actually prefers to sleep on her side/tummy. Perhaps this will be the key to consistently longer, more sustained sleep.

Friday, July 31, 2009

No words, really...

...just have to show off my girl all dressed up for her Daddy's birthday.

Monkeying Around

This morning Hayley added the matching hoodie* to a pair of pants she'd worn as jammies the night before so we could go on a walk.

After a photo shoot, of course.

*Thanks to Naini for the outft!

This will come as a surprise to no one...

Like I need jammies to tell me that.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Picking up steam

Two days ago, Hayley turned 5 months old. To celebrate, she had her first cereal/bowl/spoon experience. Our pediatrician (like most these days) recommends waiting until 6 months to start cereal. Hayley has been showing signs of being ready for weeks now, so we decided to give a try. The food doesn't replace any of her actual meals, i.e. her bottles, as it's more about learning how to eat. For anyone unfamiliar with baby cereal, it's not a whole lot different from formula. Mix powder with water. Done. Depending on the ratio, you get thick or thin cereal, and it's barely thicker than formula at first. Like I said, it's really about teaching Hayley a new skill. So here's video of her first non-milk feeding:

I'm happy to report that after only 3 tries now, she's already getting better at it. This comes as no surprise to me though. This kid is a quick study. Hayley is more capable than I could have imagined at 5 months. As Miranda mentioned in previous posts, she can wiggle all the way out of her car seat and is on the verge of sitting unassisted. Today at her playdate, Hayley rolled over with absolutely no help, gravitational or otherwise. Speaking of playdates, she is making friends left and right, taking after her mother with the social skills. Here's a video of her hanging out with her cousin Caiden:

That actually took place a while ago. I've got a few other old videos here that I should have posted last month. This is Hayley finding her voice. Her babbling has increased a lot, and in the process she discovered higher registers:

Recently the babbling has leveled off. She pretty much only does it when she is on her changing table or when she gets excited about something. One of the things Hayley gets really excited about is her new activity center. We bought this to celebrate her 4 month birthday, and she now uses it every single day:

Hayley is hitting her stride when it comes to playing. Whether it's in the activity center, lying in her crib with her toys, or simply playing with her pacifier, this baby wants to either hit or eat everything in sight. One night she was playing with her paci when we introduced Hayley to frozen teethers:

It's pretty much non-stop entertainment when you've got a 5-month-old!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Once upon a time...

Hayley is getting stronger and stronger and yesterday she demonstrated how close she is to sitting on her own while reading a book to Daisy (the horse) and Liv (her first doll).

Things are about to get interesting

Hayley learned a new skill yesterday when she decided she'd had enough sitting in her car seat and watching me cook:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Good Morning Sunshine!

Dear Hayley,

Last Wednesday your father and I had the crazy idea to see if you'd sleep in your crib at night. We're not entirely sure why we decided to do this since both of us love having you with us at night and getting to wake up to your cheerful smile and lovey face pats is the highlight of our days. I worried that you wouldn't sleep as long, wake up multiple times or you'd wake up upset that you were alone.

I was especially distraught over this change as I've settled into a nightly routine with you: I change your diaper and get your jammies on while your dad makes your bottle and then he feeds you. Swaddling you after your bottle is a team effort as you now think it's a game and apparently a very funny one. I usually then go rock you to sleep in your room, often singing to you and every once in a while you'll sing back. I'd then put you down in your co-sleeper in our bed and kiss you good-night and tell you I love you. Once I eventually came to bed myself, I'd use my cell phone to light the area around your face, place my hand on your chest to make sure you were breathing and then give you another kiss before finally going to sleep.

You sleeping in your own room messes up my whole routine, a routine I've become quite dependent on in order to get a good night's sleep. Now, once I lay you in your crib, I turn on your monitor and then check the little screen every so often to see you sweetly sleeping. Ok, fine, I look at the monitor every 5 seconds, but it's just because no matter how trying a day we may have had, I can't wait for you to get up so we can do it all over again. Overnight as I try to sleep I'm usually distracted by the glow of your monitor and the image of you sleeping. I don't sleep as well without you by my side, but I'm trying to do better about relaxing and acknowledging the fact that you're growing up and need your own space. I'm proud to say that you've been a champ with this while transition. You sleep until about 5-6 a.m. without as much as a whimper and then you want one of us to come give you your paci and you quickly fall back to sleep for another couple hours.

Before I head to bed now, I stop by your crib to check in on you. I still place my hand on your chest to make sure you're ok and I still tell you "I love you, baby girl".

I guess some things never change.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Birthday America

I can't believe it's already July! Yesterday, Hayley celebrated her first 4th of July with us on a beautiful, sunny California day. As usual, we made the trip down to Morgan Hill for Uncle Danny and Aunt Patty's annual get-together. This time, we arrived with a baby and lots of baby gear.

The day had actually started off a bit slow, since I wasn't feeling well and Miranda was busy with party preparations. By the time we headed out, though, spirits were high. We happened to be the first to arrive, but it wasn't too long before the house started to fill up with family and friends. The afternoon that followed was nothing but good times.

The highlight of the day was taking Hayley into the pool for the very first time. Since she is such a fan of bath time, we figured this would be a joyous occasion. We were mostly right. There was a bit of trouble getting Hayley into her floater, so she was a little upset to begin with, but once Miranda calmed her down it was smooth sailing. After a while, Hayley was done and fell asleep in mommy's arms pretty quick.

Playing in the pool with Kati, Kelley and Dylan was lots of fun. Afterward we all got to enjoy the great food that we've all come to expect on the 4th of July. Especially Miranda's delicious cake! The rest of the evening was spent in relaxing conversation with family. Then we headed home before fireworks started to get a jump on traffic and to make sure Hayley stuck to her bedtime routine. Once she was tucked in, Miranda and I finished off the holiday by watching the Boston Pops fireworks show.

All in all, a pretty perfect Independence Day with the fam.