Archive for September, 2008

Some Diversions

Posted by julie on Monday, 29 September 2008, 14:38

I don’t get much time on-line these days, but here are a few items that might make you smile (or laugh pretty darn hard, actually):

Regardless of your politics, you’ll find the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator funny — take it from yours truly, Thump Hummer Palin. (Okay, you won’t find it that funny if you’re voting for her, unless you have a highly developed sense of humor.) I was really hoping for Spackle Camshaft Palin, but, alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

If you were ever any good at “Mother, May I?” I think you’ll appreciate Ninja Cat.

And, while I’m certain we’ve linked to Homestar Runner before, Chris and I quote this Strong Bad e-mail perhaps too often. “I’ve got a ke-e-eg. Of wo-o-rms.” It’s okay if you don’t find it hilarious; I promise not to make fun of you.

Happy Birthday, Elena: 1 Month!

Posted by julie on Thursday, 18 September 2008, 21:41

Dear Elena,

Happy First Month outside of my amazing shrinking belly! You’ll notice that your very first birthday message is late; you should learn never to expect any better. While I mean well, I’m rarely on top of things.

Elena acts like a 3-month-old

Today you helped your brother settle down for his nap. You lay on his bed next to him, listening to Frog and Toad adventures while he alternately asked “why?” questions about the stories, patted your head with gentle hands, and rooted around in the blankets like a little piglet. You listened, watching my face as I changed voices for different characters. You became a bit distressed when you’d lay there for a while; your little arms and legs picked up speed, windmilling around as you grunted. I thought I’d have to pick you up to soothe you, but I kept reading, then looked down at you. You’d fallen asleep.

This little picture of our lives illustrates a major difference between you and your older brother. You just fell asleep on your own. Not in anyone’s arms, not in a sling, not swaddled, not while walking around or bouncing on a yoga ball, not while being shushed or sung to. You just fell asleep. While I realize that it’s still early, that you still might turn into a beastly crying machine, I’m going to continue to appreciate you and hope for the best.

Elena loves her bassinet

I appreciate that I can leave you in a bassinet and that you will look at the contrasting light basketry and dark shadow until your eyelids droop and your lip movement belies your REM sleep. I appreciate that you usually only cry when you need your diaper changed, you’re hungry, you want a change of scenery, or we give you a bath in the big, scary bathtub. I appreciate that you don’t need me to help you fall asleep, that your Dad can swaddle you and lay you next to him and — sometimes with some shushing or rocking, but sometimes on your own — you’ll fall asleep. I appreciate that your favorite buddy is the toilet bowl, that you could lie on your changing pad and stare at the shiny, white, reflective bowl for hours.

This is not to say that you don’t love the sling as much as the next baby. Of course you enjoy its dark, warm comforts — and, during your first few weeks, you needed to take quite a few sling walks with Daddy. But he was already a pro (Sylvan broke us in; I’m just glad we didn’t remain broken), and your crying jags didn’t last very long.

Enough with my amazement and appreciation of how seamlessly you worked your happy self into our currently crazy lives.

You’re just starting to try out your voice, cooing and ga-ing. And, while you’re probably still weeks away from a smile, I saw you using those smile muscles today while you stared at me: the corners of your mouth turned up, your eyes sparkled and your eyebrows lifted, and you wrinkled your lip as if I’d just cracked an almost-funny joke. The architecture for a grin was all there; you just need the right motivation.

Sage and Elena lie together

This is Elena’s friend Sage, who looks on while Elena does her Karate Kid imitation.

You’re gonna fit right in! You already do.

Happy Birthday: 3 Years!

Posted by julie on Friday, 12 September 2008, 22:52

Dear Sylvan,

You’re three! Here are some photos from your four Septembers:

Sylvan at 12 Days Old

Sylvan at twelve days old


Sylvan and fam on his first birthday

Sylvan at his first birthday party. Mommy made three carrot sheetcakes (enough to feed approximately 823 people)


Sylvan at his second birthday party

Sylvan at his second birthday party. Mommy made really yummy cream cheese centered chocolate cupcakes. We only had about two dozen left over.


Sylvan on his third birthday.

Sylvan on his third birthday (thanks for the awesome crown, Aunt Stephanie!). For his kid birthday party, Mommy bought Market of Choice cupcakes. For this adult celebration in the park (Gramma Mia, Daddy, and Mommy), Gramma bought Sweet Life cake. Good choice.


When you were born, I fell even more deeply in love with your Dad, who was obviously created to parent — and to write and be married to a woman who occasionally (okay, often) needs her self-esteem fires stoked. After your birth, your Dad arose with you throughout the night, changing your diaper, swaddling you, shushing you, and handing you to me to feed you. He never lost his patience with your, let’s face it, incessant crying. Your crying reduced me to tears many times. I felt like I couldn’t help you, and it made me sad and angry. Problem solver that he is, your exhausted Dad knew he could deal with an eight-pound crying machine. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to have decided to share my life with such a competent, uncomplaining, loving father.

Sylvan in a sheetSince Elena was born nearly a month ago, I’ve been reaching another level in my love for you. You have been nothing but gentle and sweet when it comes to your little sister. You pet her, kiss her head, talk to her in a little voice and tell her how soft she is, sing her the Tiny Tim turtle song when she cries, and bring her vehicles or stuffed animals, depending on your mood — and hers, probably. Today you told me that “Elena likes diggers, and I like dumpers” as you put a tractor with a front-loader attachment next to her little ear.

There’s no doubt that you’ve recently been acting out against your parents and grandparents, but, honestly, you’ve had more change in your little life in the past month than most people have in years: getting a new baby sister who is physically attached to Mommy for many hours a day and who has the privilege of sleeping in Mommy and Daddy’s bed; moving into yet another transitional home while we await the end of our house renovations (Next week? The week after? Christmas?); visiting our scaredy-cat, being fostered by Chandra and Eric, who was just starting to allow you to touch her when we were in the summer home and who has now only emerged from her closet hiding place to eat and use the litter box; having three grandparents and an auntie visit, which is super-exciting (and helpful!) but also routine-altering.

Sylvan “watering” the sky, the sidewalk, and his face.Anyway, the bottom line is that you’re handling all this superbly. I find myself just looking at you and smiling. You’re still crazy about trains and excited about singing. You still stop in your tracks when you hear a siren: “Where is it?” You still want to go to the library to hear Jeff play his auto-harp. You could play in the dirt for hours with your bulldozers and frontloaders. Thank you for being so flexible and understanding.

Additionally, this month you’ve developed quite an adorable story-telling style that involves putting your flattened hand either up against your face like you’re telling a secret or a few inches off your cheek as if you’re making a serious point. You change your voice, too, giving your words a sotto voce, dramatic flair. (Taking after Daddy, huh? I can’t believe you even allow me to tell you stories after hearing how creative and fascinating Daddy’s are.) I won’t lie: your storytelling style is so silly I sometimes wonder if you’ve had one too many gin and tonics.


Quick photo update, Sep 2008

Posted by jonesey on Wednesday, 10 September 2008, 16:40

We have limited internet access while we are between houses, so here’s a quick photo update to keep your cuteness quota up.

otter, i have a tractor

Sylvan with otter

i have a crown

Her highness Queen Elena at Sylvan’s birthday party.

can i kick your head?

Sylvan in a three-person swing at Annalena’s birthday party.

Elena’s Official Page

Posted by julie on Tuesday, 2 September 2008, 19:28

In case you were wondering exactly when the Mayflower departed from England in 1620

(Or exactly how remarkably hot it got on Elena’s birthday, or with whom she shares her birthday.)