Thursday, March 19, 2009

Firsts (Updated with 4-Month Stats)

Stella will be four months* next week, and she's at a really fun stage. She's so engaged with the world, really looking at people and things. She smiles a lot and laughs. I now feel like I might have an idea what comedians or other entertainers feel like onstage--it's kind of a rush to be able to make Stella laugh and smile. And we've noticed lots of new little activities and developments.

For awhile now, I've been handing Stella a little rattle she got from my friend Alison right after she was born. For a few weeks, she's been able to hold it. Then occasionally she would seem to take some pleasure in being able to make it make noise. Then, last weekend, I left her on the floor while I went to the kitchen when I heard a rattle noise. Tyler was in the bathroom, so I didn't think it was him. I quietly walked up and saw that Stella had rolled onto her side and was picking it up and playing with it by herself. It seemed like such an achievement! And it helped me feel better about not always needing to be engaging her and right there. Even though intellectually I know that's not necessary, since I've gone back to work, I want to make the most of our time together. But this helped me remember that sometimes being alone will help her do things she needs to do on her own.

You can see she's holding the rattle here, but really I just love the way Tyler and Stella are curved toward each other in this picture.

I haven't seen this particular first for reasons that will soon become more obvious, but apparently Stella can also hold her own bottle as she gets down to the last few ounces. This seems to be a relief for Tyler, since bottle feeding has been somewhat of a challenge.

Here's Stella chowing down with her own two hands!

Stella's also gotten to meet her first new baby friend from among our existing group of friends. While we've met lots of great new people with babies since our pregnancy, Todd and Christine welcomed Lucy into the world a few weeks ago. We went to visit and it was amazing the difference between 3+ months and 3 weeks. Someday it won't make any difference at all, but for now they are almost like two different creatures. We think it will be great to show them this picture when they're older!

Daughers and Daddies: Todd & Lucy, Tyler & Stella

And probably most momentous of all, Stella started rolling over! Unlike other babies we've heard of who are rolling from their stomachs to their back, Stella's decided to buck the trend and go from her back to her tummy. She spent a few weeks rolling onto her side consistently. Then she'd start to roll over but often get one arm caught underneath her. This video was from the first or second day she was really doing it pretty consistently. Now you can't set her down without her rolling over. The only problem is that she hasn't learned to roll back, so she'll roll, get tired of tummy time, fuss, we'll roll her back to her back, and she immediately rolls herself back to her stomach. This sometimes stops being cute after awhile, but it's entertaining to see how obsessed she is with her new skill.

Video proof of Stella's rolling abilities--now it's totally routine and an obsession

In some ways, these all seem fitting. Even though she's so young, one of the things we've noticed about her personality is a certain independent streak. (I have no idea where she might have gotten that from...)

And, to round things off, here are two recent favorites of mine:

Stella and the flamingo from Aunt Jeanne and Uncle Tim.

Stella on one of our Fridays together. I love her in blue since it brings out her eyes, but it will always make people think she's a boy...

So this day she also wore her first shoes to add a feminine flair to the outfit. They're so tiny and so cute.

* Stella had her four-month well baby check-up today. She is 16 pounds 1 ounce, 25 inches long and 16.5" head circumference. According to the doctor she's thriving and doing great, and she even handled the shots surprisingly well. No major post-shot meltdowns...yet...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Now and Then: A matter of perspective

First off, I feel like I should apologize since I've been absent from this blog for the better part of a month. With starting my new business, I am actually in front of the computer more than ever these days. But, at the same time, it leaves me in this weird situation where -when I am sitting at the computer- I feel like I should be either on-task (adding to my portfolio, tracking down clients) or really, really off-task (I'm looking at you, Comic Book Message Boards). So, that rarely leaves me in a situation where I feel like I should be doing something sort of on-task... or at least on-task for life, if not professionally.

That said, earlier today, I finally got around to doing something I meant to do quite a while ago: Uploading the photos our friend Breanne took of us. Breanne's been doing professional photography for a while now, so when she offered to come over and take some pictures of Sarah when she was pregnant, we jumped at the opportunity. Then, again, a couple months after Stella's birth, she came by to take some pictures. Sort of a "before" and "after" sort of thing.

Anyhow, you can now see a selection of the photos she took here. Enjoy Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and Great-Grandparents!

Sarah actually posted a selection of the Stella pictures in the second half of this entry, so I won't bother posting more in this entry... well, except maybe this one...

(When she gets older, Stella is going to hate that I'm posting this picture.)

...but I will post a couple of the pregnancy pictures here, just because I love the lighting that Breanne captured, plus it's amazing to look back at pictures of Sarah in the final month of pregnancy. It's crazy how things have changed.

Anyhow, be sure to check out the whole set.

Also, finally, I thought I'd post one more picture. Not because its going to win any photography awards, but instead because I love what it represents.

Sarah took this photo last Friday while I was downstairs working. When I saw it later that day, it made me smile. I love watching the two of them together, and it makes me so happy that they share such a wonderful bond with each other. It's hard to put into words why it makes me so happy. I've literally tried to type it out a half dozen times now, but then gone back and deleted the sentence because its not quite right. So, let's see if I can break it down...

I love Sarah and my relationship to her, and I love Stella and my relationship to her. This photo is evidence of their love and relationship to each other, which is something I might see ever day, but not always notice because I'm there with them. Seeing this photo of them, without me there, reminds me of their relationship to each other. It's sort of physical proof of the love that -from my perspective- makes up the far side of our little family circle. And that's one of the most important things in the world to me. It makes me so happy that they make each other so happy

Anyhow, I think I still sort of botched-up and confused what I meant to say. But, oh well. If nothing else, its a cute photo of my girls hanging out together and it makes me smile.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

103 Days

Well, we sort of blew it. Tyler wanted to mark Stella's 100th day by taking her out and having her feet actually touch the earth (something that hasn't happened in her life yet--remarkable until you think about how cold it's been since her birth). But between having book club that night and the exhaustion that hits me by midweek of working, we forgot all about it until her 103rd day or so, and that just didn't have the same ring to it.

But there have been other exciting developments. She's definitely grabbing onto things, like some of her animals and rattles, and now quickly moves them directly to her mouth. Stella's also getting more mobile and interested in the world, so she's often less interested in hanging out in her basket where she can't see too much. I found one of these baby seat things at a used baby store, and we amuse ourselves by setting Stella in it every once in awhile.

There's something cute and ridiculous about setting her up in this little seat. With her big diapers, I wonder how long she'll actually be able to use this....

Stella's also gotten really vocal and seems to like the sound of her own voice. It started earlier this week when she was laying in her bed going to sleep, just oohing and aahing until we turned the lights out. Now she seems to like to talk to Jacques the Peacock while on her activity mat.

Conversations with Jacques. We're still trying to learn the ins and outs of this language system

Unfortunately for me, Stella's changing her reasonable night schedule for one that's less fun and includes a 4AM squirm/whimper/wake up session.

Napping Stella--she looks big in her basket these days, but still pretty tiny in a real bed

We've had a fun past few days, with lots of smiles and fun times hanging out. Unfortunately, I didn't think about possible cabbage connections when I made a curry for lunch with some baby bok choy and got a reminder about how un-fun gassy, unhappy Stella can be. At least we know this will past, and I'll add another thing to the "do not eat" list.....