October 27, 2006

Any parent who pays any attention to anything written about parenting anywhere has heard ad-nauseum how important consistency is. It's such a simple concept - do what you say you're going to do and respond to behavior in consistent ways so that your children can make decisions based on the response they wish to get from you. If it were so simple, there wouldn't be a new parenting book or article with this same theme out every month or so. In practice, it's NOT SIMPLE!

For example, I say to Serena, "It's time to eat dinner." She says, "I'm not hungry." I say, "Okay, then shall I put away your dinner?" "No!", she says. So I leave it out for a bit. She says, "Have some ice cream?" and I say, "If you are hungry, you need to eat some dinner first." So I portion off some of her pasta and say, "Eat this much, then you can have ice cream." (already not what I "planned" around eating - giving food rewards for eating) I can see she's about to have an irrational response to the "denial" of her request for ice cream. My body tenses. If she goes into a tantrum, the after-effects will likely linger into bedtime, which means more struggle for the rest of the night. I just want to enjoy our evening together... I hear myself say, "Okay, have two bites of pasta and then you can have ice cream." Huh?! I KNOW I'm supposed to stick to my original offer. I KNOW it! But this "foot in the door" technique is so compelling and often works since two bites is much easier to agree to than a whole portion of the plate (after all, it is a very useful sales communication tool!) and, I say to myself, ice cream does have calcium...

Jim left for LA this afternoon. One of his closest friends is having a 40th birthday party (Happy Birthday, Pete!) on Saturday. I know people all over the world single-parent full-time and even more have partners that travel at least occasionally. We, however, do not travel without the whoe crew, as a general lifestyle choice. Therefore, I'm a bit nervous about being solo for almost 48 hours. Hee hee - sounds silly. So far, girls are happily park-played, fed, bathed, and seemingly asleep. The trick y part comes in the middle of the night when they both wake up requesting me at the same time...

October 26, 2006

Annika climbed to the top of the stairs today. She only began to pull herself up just before we left for Ohio. Uh-oh - she's jammin'!

September 26, 2006

Serena picked up Jim's asprin and said, "This is for when Daddy has a head egg."

We've had such trouble with sleep lately, for both girls. Today Serena just didn't seem tired and said she didn't want to take a nap. This, after we did the whole nap routine and she hung out in her room for a while. Last night she went to bed around 9:40 (we started the routine at a usual 7:30pm-ish time.) She just doesn't seem to be tired. She's amped up and excited. So, we thought maybe her naps were interfering with her ability to go to sleep at night. We decided to let her skip nap today and see how it effected her and her bedtime routine.


September 25, 2006

Serena's favorite color to color with is black.

Every verbal error is noted - and corrected where appropriate - by Serena. I thought that was learned, but did I already teach her that? She says, "You said ___! ha ha ha."

Serious sleep mayhem at our house...

September 19, 2006

Annika isn't just a happy baby - she's a blissful baby. She is continually poised for the next opportunity to laugh or smile. Really, that's what strikes me about her more than any other thing every day. Since I believe that basic personality traits are genetic, I am really thrilled for her that she seems to have this propensity. And I am so happy for us because she really makes us smile often. She makes the random stranger smile, even when they don't intend to.

Reading this latest update, I am struck by the large number of "cute" stories and happy, frollicky tone. I imagine it could seem like one of those annoying Christmas letters where everyone got raises, bought fancy houses and their kids were on the honor roll. I even looked around for ways to tone it down and maybe balance the stories with some more difficult moments from the last weeks. But you know what, I'm not going to do it! Because this is a blessed life we live and these stories occured to me this way and how lucky am I to feel like sharing this stuff - and even more lucky to have you out there caring enough about us to read this! So, you may need a glass of water after the sweetness of this update. Drink up! xo.

September 17, 2006

Annika is crawling!! Check it out!

September 16, 2006

Serena and I have something of a Saturday morning ritual of garage sale shopping for a few hours, while Annika naps. As we were preparing to leave this morning, Jim was in putting Annika down for her nap. Serena called out (to the closed door), "I love you Daddy!" and blew him a kiss. Then (as we were still gathering up five minutes later, she called out to the door, "Bye, Djjim (Jim)! I love you, Djjim!"

We really have a fun time garage saling. We've found some amazing bargains on toys and books both girls have enjoyed. We, of course, also take home the random junky or silly little toy (like the strange, hulky, brown creature-guy that Serena found at a garage sale that just didn't have anything else fun for kids. It's hard to leave a sale empty handed!) but the cost is so low that it's worth the sheer entertainment for the morning to spend a quarter then pass the item along to goodwill when it goes unused. The bulk of the thrill is in driving around talking about finding "the next spot" and discussing what we might see there. Or, in Serena's case, what kind of shoes she might get to try on there.

September 15, 2006

Annika is 9 months old today!

Serena is 2 years and 3.5 months old.

During dinner tonight, Serena said, "Listen to some music?" I said, "What kind of music would you like to listen to?" She said, "Country Restroom music?"

September 14, 2006

Papa was duly impressed with my down-home cardboard box kitchen. Then he said, "Why don't I buy them a real one?" (Go Papa!!) Guess what I said... "OKAY!!!" I was so excited that I called every store in Bend the next morning and it was ordered that day. Unfortunately, it didn't arrive while Papa was here (we don't have a big box toy store here that stocks this kind of item) but Serena sure is LOVING it.

She walked downstairs this morning and said, somewhat casually but with intrigue, "I got a new kitchen." She then began cooking pizza and making a smoothie. Later, as she walked by it again, she said, "I love my new kitchen!" She has asked, "Where is my blue kitchen?" a few times but seems totally fine with the vague, "We moved it so we could put your new kitchen here."

September 12, 2006

Annika is a FISH in human form. Check out her swimming on the first day of swim class.

Serena is the talk of her swim class, dunking about every two minutes or so. She's also the only one at her swim level who insists on goggles. No one can tell us Francos that we don't know what's cool.

September 11, 2006

Happy Birthday, Uncle Frannie! (I've called - where ARE you?!)

Serena on the climbing wall at the "Singer Center Park" (Senior Center Park.)

This spider (remember this spider, NJ?!! It's STILL here!) has taken up residence in a pine tree that is very near our living room sliding door and right next to our patio table. I wish I had something to give it perspective in this picture. It's about the size of a silver dollar - REALLY!

As we were making the pilgrimage upstairs for Serena's bath tonight she dropped something on the kitchen floor. After taking a moment to scan the tiles she said, "The cleaning people have to clean our house. Because it's dirty." Um, thanks.

It's strange to write the date, "September 11". In light of the events of September 11, 2001, any fun, lighthearted family stories seem inappropriate.. I feel a sense of dishonoring for attending to them, when so many families similar to ours were shattered on that horrible day. And yet, they are real, these mundane daily occurences - even on a day represented by such horrendous memories. It is impossible to reconcile the two coexisting realities.

September 10, 2006

Happy Birthday, Aim!

"I have on Daddy's sock!" Notice that Annika is totally unaffected. She think this is just what wearing socks looks like.

September 8, 2006

Scout has taken much more quickly to Annika than she did to Serena. It's like she gets the drill now. Here, Annika and Scout are doing a little "bonding". Scout still has significant personal space boundaries when it comes to the girls.

September 7, 2006

Papa reads in funny voices. "You're silly, Papa!"

September 6, 2006

The Purely O's have made their debut into Annika's diet, much to her delight.

We went to Jitterbeans today. It's a kid-cafe, meaning they have a huge play area with tables, couches, chairs scattered around the perimeter for parents to drink their lattes while they watch the kids play. It was fun, but I have to say that the snacks left much to be desired. They're new, so I'll give them some time to pull together a menu before I write them off. Anyway, we met Grant and Lydia there and the kids had great fun.

Serena was particularly taken with the two baby dolls. She was carrying them around everywhere, letting them try the various toys. A little girl, probably 6 months to a year older than (and 10 pounds bigger ) Serena came up and took one of the dolls. As usual, Serena just said, "I am playing with that doll." but didn't yank it back from the girl. The girl's mom came up and told her to give the doll back to Serena, which caused great sorrow and anger to rise in the girl. She started crying in frustration. Serena watched for a minute then went to get another doll and handed it to the crying girl, "Here." She said, "Would you like to play wtih this doll? Maybe it will feel better." Blessed little sweet soul. It both fills and breaks my heart to see her interact sometimes. I literally swell with pride and happiness that she is such a sensitive person, but I also feel a bit afraid for how that will be harder for her at times when others just don't have that same sensitivity.

Annika, even in her immobile state, had a lovely time flopped out in various areas and watching all the kids go haywire in the big, giant room. Here she is sort of playing with Grant on a mat. As Grant's going to have a baby sister in about three and a half months, this is good practice for him.

Serena and Grant climbing the slide from both sides.

September 5, 2006

Annika is getting all over the place, mysteriously. It's some kind of roll-scoot thing, but it's very stealth. I never actually see her moving...

A commitment to exploration and experimentation is risky. I really try to see from Serena's perspective whenever possible and allow a sense of abundance. This often means letting her do things that might not seem like a great idea at first. For example, this evening Serena wanted to stand on one of her toys, which would most likely break if she did so. She would very possibly get hurt in the process, as well as damaging the toy. So, I said, "No, you can't stand on that. It will break. But we can find something else for you to stand on..." and I looked all around for something more suitable for climbing. The closest thing that looked reasonable was her tub of large lego-like building blocks. I said, "You can stand on this." I pulled it over to the table where I was sitting and I held her hand while she climbed up. I admit I was a little nervous; it didn't seem ideal. But, I wanted to encourage the climbing urge. As you might guess, it didn't go as I hoped. The bin slid and Serena went hurling toward the floor. Fortunately, I had her hand and I was able to stop her from actually hitting the floor. She was very scared and I have to say, it was particularly painful to know that she was scared by something that I actually designed for her to do. She puts her trust in me and it's really hard when I make a mistake.

September 4, 2006

We were on our way out the door when Serena decided that Piglet needed a new diaper. She took out some wipes, wiped Piglet's bottom and layed out a diaper for Piglet. Jim and I stood with our mouths agape, watching her go through a whole ritual that we do with her all the time but we've never realized she even notices. She tried for a few moments to see how that way-too-big diaper would get wrapped just around Piglet's bottom. When it was clearly a virtually impossible goal, she moved on to getting in the car for our trip to breakfast.

"I'll feed Annika." "Here you go, Annika!" "Is that good, Annika? Are you a hungry guurrl, Annika?"

September 2, 2006

Learning to "drink" from a cup.

Serena and a loaf of bread.

September 1, 2006

Papa arrived today!

Recreating the bond with Papa after a significant absence.

Recreating the bond with Papa after a significant absence.

August 30, 2006

As Serena was navigating our back deck stairs this morning I said, "Good work, Serena." She said, "Are you very proud of me, Mama?"

Driving home from shopping tonight, alone, I heard a song called "I Loved Her First" by Heartland. It's a father singing to his daughter's new husband on their wedding day. He describes the intensity of his emotion for giving away his daughter; while wanting her to have powerful love in her life he is posessively holding onto his memories of the primary and precious love that he and his daughter have shared since she was born. This whole topic touches me in so many ways - as a mom, as a daughter, as a wife... all at the same time. It's intense. And it visits me often, this incredible consciousness of the amount and complexity of the love I feel for Serena and Annika. The singer of the song says, "I prayed that she'd find you some day, but it's still hard to give her away" and I just SO get it what he's saying! I can imagine it's a bit different Father to Daughter, but for me as their mom, I can feel this intense desire to give them the whole entire world, set them FREE to explore and discover - who they are and what's out there for them. At the same time, I want to be there to hug them congratulations, encourage them through tough or uncertain spots, and hold them really tight when they are hurting in hopes of easing the inevitable pains of life even just a little. When I say I want to be "right there", I mean really RIGHT THERE - at their side. I know that's not the way you let them go. I know they will need to get away from us, in some ways, to find themselves completely. But really, I can't imagine how you "let them go". My dad said to me once (maybe even twice, but I try to block it out - sorry, Dad!), "From the day they are born, honey, your job is letting them go." Ugh! Really? That feels, literally, impossible.

This feeling about the girls has brought a new consciousness for me around my relationship with Jim's mom and my own parents. My dad has always told me that the only way I can know how he feels about us kids, is to have my own. I thought I could know intellectually. After all, I have loved some pretty amazing kids in my life before I had my own. Whoa, I had no idea! He was right. How do you not retain this feeling of protection about your kids as they grow up? The feeling that has your hair stand on end when you see even a nonverbal negative reaction from someone else to something that your childs has done or said. How do you let a new person - someone who only comes in twenty or thirty years into the game (like a boyfriend, wife, husband) - take the primary spot next to your baby? So many times I think about this as I notice Jim's mom deferring to my relationship with Jim. Does it break your heart to lose that primary influence/partnership spot in your child's life? Or, by that time, does it feel good and right to hand it over? I suppose it must be more the second, but it's hard for me to imagine that at this point. Possibly because I am still so enamored with the process and gift of getting to know these amazing human beings. No way would I want to share that intimately with anyone else, except for their dad.

After Serena gave Annika her kiss "and a hugga!" good night this evening, she said, "I love you, Annika."

August 29, 2006

Tonight during dinner, I went looking for Serena (she has a tendency to "travel" during dinner - Grammy calls it a "progressive dinner"). She was dancing at the top of the stairs by herself, naked, singing "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes".

When Serena is feeling overwhelmed with emotions and she can't stop herself from whining/crying, she says, "Just cry for one minute?" I think this started because soon after she turned two, she began these really random crying sessions and I couldn't understand what was causing them. When I realized that she was just having more intense emotions than she knew what to do with right then, I'd say, "Do you just feel like crying? Okay, you can cry if you want to." When it got unbearably long on the whining/crying, I'd say, "Okay, you can cry for one more minute. I'll set the timer." I'd set the timer "in my mind" and when the timer went off ("beep! beep! beep!"), she'd miraculously stop crying and talk completely normal. Well, many times. Not EVERY time. But it has been useful. In fact, I have no idea what we'd do without the timer. A sampling of timer setting circumstances: diaper change, get out of bed, get in car seat, get out of car seat, get dressed, eat lunch, turn off Clifford video, go for a walk, go home from a walk, play at the playground, wash hands, stop washing hands... Timer gets set at least 25 times per day. Minimum.

August 28, 2006

Serena is two years and three months old

Annika is eight and a half months old

While we were on a walk this morning and Serena and Annika were in their stroller, Serena said (unsolicited), "I love you, Mama."

Annika has been such a great sleeper, overall. We've had a few rough periods back a few months, but generally she sleeps long and goes to sleep peacefully. I have been very grateful for that. In the last few weeks, however, she has started waking up more frequently and wanting to nurse. I can tell we are, right now, building those habits that were so traumatic for us to break with Serena. So, we're trying to take care of it early. Here's what we've been doing: She nureses at 6:15ish and goes to bed. If she wakes before 9, Jim goes in... Nurse one more time around 10 or 11pm (whenever she wakes), then Jim takes care of her the rest of the night. At 5am or after, I'll nurse her again... Last night, two wake-ups and Jim didn't even have to go in! She found her way back to sleep!

Usually you can hear Serena chatting or singing wherever she is in the house. When I can't hear her, I usually find her sitting in one of the rooms reading one of her randomly scattered-throughout-the-house books. She'll say, "I'm right HERE, Mama!"

August 27, 2006

"I'll show you how to do it, Annika."

Serena's latest craze is DANCING. See her moves live here.

August 26, 2006

We went to the Juniper Center activity pool with Maya, Brian and Dean & Lydia, Grant and Lydia's mom today.


August 22, 2006

Annika's getting so strong. Sitting up, starting to lean forward toward crawling, LOVES to stand while you hold her hands. It feels like it all happens so fast (and sometimes it simultaneously feels like it's taking a long time... how is that?)

"I'm RUNNING!" (pre-hike energy burst) We hiked on the Deschutes River Trail this morning. The plan was to get out of the house right when the girls woke, nice and early, so we'd be back in time for Annika's nap. Serena, of course, slept until 7:40 then we took about 40 minutes to get ready (it's our curse, disorganization) so we were starting just about at Annika's nap time. We rationalized that we hadn't tried doing an "activity" nap in a long time and maybe now it would work. It was silent and peaceful on the hike and she was comfortable in her Ergo carrier... HA! She fell asleep for 12 minutes, then was just awake and cranky. Confirmed: Annika needs a dark, quiet room to sleep well.

Whew! Hydration is important on these treacherous hikes.

Family hike self-portrait. (Serena's smiling back there in the backpack, I'm sure.)

August 18, 2006

Kisses for Daddy.

August 17, 2006

Annika is making all kinds of new sounds with hard g's, b's... and LOUD. She's finding her own voice, for sure. I cannot wait to learn more about her. Right now, her most striking characteristics are that she is so smiley and makes happy sounds and she sleeps like angel. Chats herself to sleep, wakes up having a conversation with her little bedtime guy. She's just happy.

I am beginning to think that the universe is telling us not to use a babysitter. I'll tell you more about that later, but don't let me forget! Both babes beckon from a blessed simultaneous naptime...

August 15, 2006

Annika is Eight months old today!

We set up the crib we borrowed from Lydia before Annika was born in Serena's room and Serena loves sleeping in it. I had no idea how much bigger a real crib is than the pack n' play we've been using for Serena! (We just never thought we'd use a crib... ha. Best laid plans.) "I'll cover you up, Annika!" She loves to share her crib with Annika.

Annika likes to shake her head back and forth. Serena says, "Annika is NO-ing!"

August 13, 2006

Grammy and Nancy left today. Sniff. Sniff. We had so many fun, interesting conversations. That's what stands out the most. Well, that, and how much Serena loves to be with Grammy. Well, that, and how fun it was to do cool stuff like hiking, dates nights (!!), girls' night out, picnics, walks... okay, everything. The bummer is, I know Serena's going to ask about them for days and it always makes me a bit weepy-feeling.

August 12, 2006

"I don't want to stay at the picnic."

Sometimes it feels silly, the two hours it takes to prepare and pack a picnic for the one hour we have left to enjoy it before we have to rush home for the next nap... But, we adventure nonetheless. Sometimes we're just sweatier than others from the prep. And we do usually have a lovely time during that hour we are there at the event.

"Can I touch the butterfly?"

Serena wants to touch wildlife now, wherever we go. It's hard to explain how mice and butterflies don't want to be touched. We don't want her to feel rejected.

Late night thought on August 11, 2006

Many people see the dangers of living in Central Oregon in the summertime as things like fires and sunburn. For me, it is Kettle Corn. We have so many festivals here and they all serve Kettle Corn. I simply cannot resist the perfect balance of salty and sweet found in this quasi-food.

August 11, 2006

Nancy and Jim took an eight mile hike this morning with beautiful tranquil views of the river, savannah, and woods - and twenty mosquitos dancing inside Nancy's ear.

There's just something about Serena's little cute mouth!

Now Annika is hydrating.

Serena's artwork from "kid school" at Art Station. (It's another parent-participation summer sign up thing she went to with her Daddy twice and Grammy once.) The bottom artwork is Matisse-inspired.

Here's how happy we look while sitting at the bar at Marz Planetary Bistro in downtown Bend - because it's DATE NIGHT! YA-HOW!

August 10, 2006

Today was SPA DAY!! Nancy, Norma and I all went to Shibui Spa and had massages then we had salads and wine out on the patio at the spa. Nancy and I both had the best massages of our lives! Norma says hers was really good, but can't say it was the best ever - possibly because I have given her a massage before :-)

August 9, 2006

Grammy and Annika, coordinated but not too-matchy

She figured out how to put this on "all by myself!" Boy is she HYDRATED now.

In this video, Grammy is Serena's support team for her marathon running training.

August 8, 2006

Serena has taken up singing. This morning's song went: "You're too little, An-i-ka. You can't chewww that." According to Grammy, who has heard many more songs than I have, recent song topics include "I'm going up the stairs" and a song about colors (or was it snacks?)

Post bath read with Grammy

August 3, 2006

The top four teeth

August 2, 2006

Serena is sick. Her first lay on the couch and watch videos, get served drinks all day kind of sick. She even gets to take her pacis out of her bed onto the couch (when we got back from California in June we decided to start using pacis only for sleep, which she has taken to remarkably well. Though we can tell she is appreciating more time with her pacis right now.)

It's interesting to notice how I feel, seeing her sick. She is sweet and surrendered, in that way that only a fever and general not-well energy can create. She doesn't seem terribly uncomfortable, which is a relief. Seeing her lay there on the couch, in her special camping bed sleeping bag thing, reminds me of when I was sick. While it felt crummy, there was something very safe and nurturing-feeling about my mom peeking in on me, feeling my forehead, bringing me 7-Up and soup. Very nostalgic.

July 30, 2006

Serena is two years and two months and two days old

We went camping this weekend with Zoe and Cynthia and Stuart; a much anticipated and long awaited adventure. It was really fun for many, many of the hours we were there. Except for the sleep... oh my... we got virtually no sleep. The whole tent thing was just too weird for Annika so she rolled around and fussed all night long. I had to sleep with her latched on to me virtually all night, which means I didn't sleep. And, with no nap, Serena slept well at night but was on super-high tantrum alert during the day. A living contrast: the serene, tranquil outdoors and beautiful surroundings - and some high stress moments of "why did we do this to ourselves and our babies?!!"

Not sure if we'll be doing tent camping for the next couple of years. Maybe a cabin...

Serena and Zoe did LOVE playing in their tents. Serena got a new Winnie the Pooh air mattress/toddler bed thing that she thought rocked! so they'd move back and forth between each other's tents and lay in their sleeping bags. Naive and ever-hopeful, all four of us parents kept whispering and saying that it looked like they might take a nap after all... Ha!

Annika has a new travel tent that I found at a garage sale. It's really handy for prividing shade where nature doesn't provide it. It has really big openings so she is really with us, but just protected. Zoe thought it was fun to take a break from the sun at the lake and play with Annika.

Zoe brought the coolest water-toy!

Overview of our campsite at East Lakes (after we packed most of it up.)

Guess the weather at the lake...

Check out the size of that beetle!

Beetle close-up.

July 21, 2006

Crazy day.

It started out lovely. Annika, Serena and I went on a beautiful run at 7:30 this morning, during which they were complete angels. They shared books and Serena just chatted about the scenery for 50 minutes straight. After Annika's first nap, we went to the new water park at Juniper Center. It is AMAZING! Here's a general picture of the activity pool: (don't look for us, this is a picture provided by the Juniper Center)

Serena absolutely loved it. Immediately upon arrival, she began dunking. She just dunked her head under water, as though she has always known how to hold her breath. So, she was very excited at her new discovery and spent the majority of the time just dunking in various spots and trying out her new skill. I held Annika on my hip and she had a blast splashing the water and watching the MANY kids playing all around. There's also a huge waterslide and a smaller kids slide that both don't show in this picture, but added to the sense of excitement and fun. We had a great time for almost an hour, then it was time to shower, have lunch and go home for nap... you can see where this might be going... Serena had the biggest tantrum of her life. It lasted more than an hour. I had to carry her, Annika, our huge bag, and the bumbo seat (for Annika to sit it while I help Serena shower and get ready), while Serena screams at the top of her lungs all the way to the locker room. She screamed through shower, stopping only once or twice to make calm and random observations like, "There's a baby." then onto screaming again. It's hard to see the knowing/sympathetic/not-sure-what-to-do looks of the other moms. At least the kids will just stop and stare and occasionally say, "What's the matter with her?" Then we can get it out in the open: "She's mad because she didn't want to leave the pool." (loud enough so everyone else can hear who might be wondering why my child is freaking out.) Anyway, the tantrum lasted through lunch until I could find distraction in some bubble-blowing. Then we had a meltdown around the bubbles. By this time she's just too tired and I know it. She went to sleep soon after and I fought tears while I went to Starbuck's and got a frappucino (Jim was home at this point.)

She took an extra long nap but we rode on the edge of a tantrum at every turn this evening. Not sure why.

Then, this evening Serena sat on her potty and made "poops"! This is the first ever success on the potty of any kind!

July 20, 2006

Annika has four teeth on the bottom. On the top, the two just to the sides of the top front teeth have just cut through and her top front teeth are about to come in.

Serena likes to say, "What's this, Mama?" about everything.

Serena also likes to run, jump, climb. She's into unprecedented levels of physical activity.

Here she is at "Kid School" (we have to distinguish between the school she goes to a couple of times a week for two little programs this summer, with Daddy, and the school that Mama goes to twice a week. This way she doesn't get confused as to why she can't go to school with me.)

July 19, 2006

Serena went to the shop with Jim this morning. Her running commentary: "There's a white car. We have a white car. Mama has a truck. It's a brown truck. But we don't have a motorcycle...."

July 18, 2006

Happy Birthday, Papa!

We just experienced our most excruciating night of parenting to date. Annika has some nasty virus that gives her sores in her throat and a moderate fever. She has been just a bit fussy the last few days and we've been using Tylenol for her fevers. The first couple of days weren't too bad. She seemed mildly uncomfortable but she's such a trooper. We took her to the doctor yesterday because the fever was persisting. They said she had a virus and it would probably take a few more days to run its course. Nothing we could do except try to keep her comfortable with cool baths and Tylenol as needed. All was going okay until last night. Then suddenly, she was SCREAMING! I mean crying, screaming... awful. I just wanted to cry right along with her, I felt so horrible. She was doing this muffled, closed-mouthed cry, I think to protect her throat from the pain it would cause to do all out screaming. But she really felt like screaming, you could just tell. Except for a couple of 35 minute naps, she was up and crying for about six hours straight. Finally, at 1:30am, Jim put her in the car and it sufficiently lulled her to sleep. He brought her home around 3am and we all slept about four hours before Serena woke. It was really hard to not get to sleep, but that was nothing nothing nothing compared to the absolute angst we both felt knowing Annika was in so much pain and there was nothing we could do to make it better. Hopefully that was the only painful night of sickness Annika will ever have and the only night of total helplessness we'll feel as parents. Ever.

July 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, Uncle Aaron!

The coziest spot on Earth.

July 15, 2006

Annika is seven months old!

July 14, 2006

(This picture is misleading. Serena looks upset while Dr. Bailie checks her ears, but she was quite fine.)

Serena had her two-year old check up today. We have been preparing each other for this for the whole week, strategizing how and when we'll tell her about her shots and what we'll do for a "treat" afterward to lift her spirits. We realized this morning that we weren't all going to be able to go to the appointment because Annika would be sleeping. Both Jim and I wanted to be there for when Serena was horribly upset about her shot. Finally we decided that Jim would go and I would stay home. After all, for the first seventeen months of her life while I was nursing her, Jim wouldn't have had the real option to comfort her because nursing trumps all other comforts. So, it's his turn to get to comfort her. And he does it often now. But my stomach was all in knots as I sent them off, following the car out of the driveway with additional brilliant ways to communication the impending painful shot to Serena. Jim smiling lovingly but I know wishing I'd just go back in the house and let them get on their way.

The time comes for her shot, Jim tells Serena she's going to get a shot, it's going to hurt just for a few seconds then she'll get a new bandaid. (Serena LOVES band aids) Serena says, "Uuuhhh, Daaady..." while she gets her shot then says, "My new band aid?" Then they went to Costco and had pizza, chatting about her new bandaid.

Other check up news: the nurse measured Serena incorrectly at 34.5 inches, putting her in the 45th percentile. She's actually 32.5 inches, which is really quite a significant difference, isn't it? She weighs 23.5 pounds - something like the 5th percentile. Little pine nut. They say she's a chatty one for her age. All else is looking healthy and on target.

July 13, 2006

"I'll put on Scoutie's undies!"

July 10, 2006

At 4:30 this morning, when I was changing Annika's diaper, she said, "Mum" :-D

July 10, 2006

July 9, 2006

July 8, 2006

The stroller struggle

Watertable fun at the Bend Summerfest. Watertable = hours of fun.

July 7, 2006

Wearing Mama's backpack

Serena and I were having some chocolate milk before her nap today. I cheers'ed her with my cup, kind of hard, and she said, "GENTLE, Mama!"

Annika is the most amazing, calm, sweet, smiley six and a half month old baby in the UNIVERSE! Here's how she goes to sleep: take her into her room (our walk-in closet in our bedroom), sit in the rocking chair and nurse or cuddle for a couple of minutes (sometimes just two minutes), kiss her and lay her in her bed, hand her her little soft Kaloo guy (or whatever it's called) to cuddle, turn on her running river sound machine thing, tell her, "Have good sleeps and dreams. I love you." and walk out. She sometimes coos and talks for a bit, but often she turns onto her side while I am still walking out, sticks her thumb in her mouth and falls asleep peacefully. She usually sleeps one and a half to two hours per nap then wakes up chatting happily for up to fifteen minutes (more or less) until we come pick her up. Yes, I vaguely remember some nap trauma stuff, but it's like some fuzzy dream from way back before I ever met this dream baby. If you asked me now, I'd tell you that Annika has always been a fabulous sleeper. Isn't parenting a fascinating ride of powerful emotions, and ones you can't always trust are accurate in reflection.

July 6, 2006

Oh, I know... we're sooo behind on updating the website! So, here are the pictures. And some stories and commentary. I'll fill more in over the next days, so, if you like the stories and reflections (plus more random details of what's going on with the girls), check back over the next days to see where we've filled in...

"Just like Grammy. I'll show Graunty Tricia." (It's always interesting to me what will occur to her to say in a given circumstance. This just shows you, in spite of the fact that I'M the one who lives here full time, who she associates with cleaning our floors... hmm. Wish I had a good argument against it.)

Serena says, "No gank you" for "no, thank you" and "caayyr" for "car".

Rice cereal update: Annika doesn't like it.

July 5, 2006

Rock on.

Annika's first rice cereal.


Serena's first haircut. Her hair looks infinitely more healthy and full after this haircut. Grammy, I keep replaying your subtle suggestions about her hair looking fuller after a cut. Such grace you have in handling my stubborn need to put things off that will actually only meet my wishes better than my current strategy (in this case, the desire for Serena to have longer, girly kind of hair.) Although, Jim resisted the haircut even more than me, I have to say. Of course, he self-admittedly knows nothing about hair.

July 4, 2006

Happy Independence Day!

Serena rode in the bike trailer down to the Pet Parade at our Fourth of July Festival downtown, while Annika and I stayed home so she could take her nap and I could do some homework. Jim said Serena stared deadpan at the 5,000 or so people, dogs, birds, llamas - well, mostly dogs - that paraded by, until a Dalmation passed. Then she said, "Just like in our book!" (Ten Dogs in the Window, a book she loves to read for bed.) She got to sit in a red fire engine and stare at a girl who wouldn't leave the backseat no matter what her mom said to coax her. And she had two smoothies and Taste of Thai for lunch (shared with Daddy) for a good ole' All-American meal.

July 3, 2006

Serena: "Here's a ladybug, Mama! I'll hold it!"

Me: (feigning calm) "Oh... that's actually a spider. Spiders often like to be alone." (as I ever so gently lead her hand away from clasping onto some potentially (though unlikely, you never KNOW!) spider.

July 1, 2006

I need to invent a divider for our jogger stroller. We walked Pilot Butte this morning with the girls in their stroller together and the entire time here's what we heard, "No, Annika! That's MY book! No Annika, that's my toy! No Annika, don't chew that!" Really, we must have stopped our walk thirty times.

School started this week. In usual form, I walked into the first day of class ten minutes late. Unlike a math or history class, I have this funny feeling that everyone is saying to themselves, "Hmmm, she's late to class... does this mean she has an unconscious resistance to school? Or, is she trying to show the authority figures that they don't have power over her?" It's hard when the world revolves around you and you know that people in the room are spening lots of mental energy analyzing you (hee hee.)

I can't believe I get to spend eight hours a week having conversations about my favorite topics (favorite next to talking about the girls, of course.) So far, school is excellent.

June 29, 2006

We took Annika to the doctor today. She's 15 pounds 12 ounces, 27 inches long (50th and 90th percentiles, respectively.) Her head is 43 cm, 75th percentile, which I still think is a funny measurement. She got shots, at which she screamed for less than 30 seconds. Still, those 30 seconds break my heart every time. I'll never get used to these shots. I'll never get used to anything that causes pain to my babies.

The "finished" play kitchen. I have the feeling I'll be saving my pennies to buy a real wood one soon... I AM proud of this one and she was so excited to see it. However, it's already starting to sag a bit.

June 28, 2006

Serena is 25 months old... when do we stop counting months, I wonder... feels like around now... so, Two years and one month.

I just snuck out of Serena's room after laying down with her on "the big bed" until she fell asleep. She has begun taking most of her naps on the futon bed we have set up in her room. Frankly, I love it. It has been so long since I got to snuggle up to her and feel her fall asleep. I have always been a bit ambivalent about the sleeping on her own thing. I loved sleeping with her. I love feeling that sweet, soft, warm baby skin and hearing her surrendered breathing. What I don't love is the amazing gymnastics she does while she sleeps - and the fact that she doesn't stay asleep as long when we are with her. But, I miss sleeping with her.

We do still get to sleep with Annika and I am soaking up every minute of it. We all sleep good together right now (her, me and Jim). I hope it stays that way for a long time. I still love the family bed idea. I don't know how that plays out with Serena not in it. It doesn't seem like that would feel right, even if Annika was less active while sleeping. And, it wasn't until she got older that Serena was difficult to sleep with. So, who knows what will happen with Annika. Right now, she is a champion sleeper all around. She wakes pretty early, around 6, but so does Serena so it doesn't make much difference, we're already up. She takes a short nap around 7:30 or 8am, maybe another little one (45 minutes to an hour), then she does this marathon three or more hour nap in the afternoon. The best part is, that long nap often overlaps Serena's two hour-ish nap. This is all coming together just in time for me to desperately need some chunks of time for studying, since I just started school on Monday.

I have been wanting to get Serena one of those wood play kitchens, but they are so expensive. Plus, you just never know whether a kid is going to play with something to make it worth the expense. So, I started thinking of how I could make her a little kitchen. Pretty soon, I'm designing this kitchen while I'm running in the morning, as I'm falling asleep at night... during any spare moment I have, I am figuring out ways I can make a little kitchen with things we already have. It's been really fun! So, here's what I've got so far. I'll show a picture of the final product in a few days. Here, we're about to paint it.

Serena pushing Annika in the swing, at the park.

June 26, 2006

After an impromptu bath this morning to clean up Annika (if Annika gets in, Serena gets in), Serena and I were snuggling on our bed. Serena was wrapped in a towel. Usually, Serena wiggles back up after thirty seconds of snuggling and heads off to a new adventure. This morning, she just lay there on my chest for about five minutes straight. I can't remember the last time she lay there so calmly on me, like that, though before she was a year old we spent many hours in that position. I was amazed to notice that her head rested just at my chin at the same time that her toe nails were scratching my knee. When did she get so long? After those sweet, snuggly five minutes, she sat up and stared at me. "There's Mama's boo-boobs" After a full minute of alternating study and cuddle of them, "That's where Annika eats milk!" I was really curious if, being so close and having such clear access, she would attempt to nurse. It was interesting to notice how mixed I felt about the possibility. There is nothing essentially wrong with her nursing. She nursed for 17 months and, if I hadn't been about to have Annika in a few months, I would have continued to nurse her. However, now that she hasn't been nursing and Annika does, it felt so strange, the thought of her nursing. She never requested or attempted to nurse. While I would have been nervous to have her nurse again (Would she want to go back to it regularly? Would it feel strange to have her nurse? Would she know how? She just seems, now, too big and "grown up" (oh my!) to nurse, whatever that means...), I was curious. I don't think I wish she had tried, but I felt a bit of inexplicable sadness that she didn't even really seem to consider it.

June 24, 2006

We came home to some baby birds in our bird house outside our bedroom window. Can you see the little beak sticking out? It's really precious - and, frankly, very LOUD in the morning.

June 23, 2006

Sitting up...

and falling over.

June 22, 2006

Happy Birthday, Auntie T!

Miles and his Papa singing a really cute and fun song about horses. This is my favorite part, where they say in unison, with enthusiasm, "A really good horse!" (or something like that...)

June 21, 2006

Precious Papa face time for Annika.

Some last day of our visit snuggle time with Papa.

Papa gets all the nosebumps.

Aaron and Jenn pulled together this fantastic picnic for our visit to their house, at which we got to see some good friends all at once. It was so nice because it's hard to see everyone on our short visits. This way we got to see Scott, Dee and Tristan and Dirk, Corolla and Clara all while the kids had a great time playing at this amazing park in Berkeley. Mostly, Serena wanted to climb up the steep hill that leads down into the park and then challenge herself to run down it.

Marabee Elizabeth beautifulness.

I'll call you. You answer. We'll talk.

June 20, 2006

All-grown-up and recently graduated cousins cuddling the babies.

We had a nice picnic with Grandma Chris and Grandpa Ken at the coolest park today. It had this water feature that quirted streams of water in all different directions and little sand play areas within the water area. It was suggestive of the beach in many ways, but like an urban play on the benefits of the beach. As it had to be in the nineties in temperature, even the overcrowding of the water feature couldn't get Serena down. She LOVED it! Of course, I loved getting to catch up with my mom, too. She, Annika and I lounged in the shade while Grandpa Ken took lots of photos and chatted with Jim who was responsible for the care and safety of Serena in the extreme sunshine.

June 19, 2006

We met our friend Dee with her kids Briannah and Caius at this yummy burger place, Taylor's Refresher, in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. I highly recommend the restaurant for delicious burgers, kid friendly outside seating and some fun Ferry Building exploring afterward. Most, we had a really nice time catching up with Dee as we haven't seen her since before we left California 3.5 years ago.

No matter where we are in our travels, seems we end up at a bookstore. When we see a bookstore, we get excited. Isn't that funny? Even Serena just loves it. There's something cozy and inviting about bookstores. And this one was teeny but it had some kids books and a great view of the bay and the ferries (which you can't see out the window because of the lighting). So, we made ourselves at home. We stayed long enough, and spread out enough in their very small space, that we really felt we should buy a book whether we wanted to or not. Serena got, "City by the Bay", a book all about the cool stuff in San Francisco. She has enjoyed looking at and talking about the pictures.

June 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day!

Annika and Uncle Franny share some connection time. Nice to meet you.

Miles works hard to keep the pool area clean.

Here's what the cool kids do at the pool. Katie, we can see you even when you can't see us!

Matt is cool, too. Too cool for the pool.

Some of us are cool, even when we go IN the pool.

June 17, 2006

One of the challenges of such an exciting trip to see so many fun people is that sleep patterns get thrown off - sometimes quite a bit. So it was a bit of a surprise when Serena clunked out in her stroller, and even more of a surprise that the nap lasted about 45 minutes - right on Papa's front porch!

Jim, Annika, Kyle, Madi, Sami, Serena... We had a fun family day with T and the kids swimming in the pool. We played tea party (fancy hairdos required), we raced across the pool, and we did different pool tricks (Madison had the most tricks!)

"Let's all cover each other's eyes, okay?!"

June 16, 2006

We had an excellent trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium with JM (an extra special, longtime friend of MIchelle's), Matt (age 10) and Emmy, (age 7) shown here with Serena. The Aquarium was a big hit with Serena - she has incorporated it (and Matt and Emmy) into one of her favorite bedtime stories. We also got to see Tom (their dad), who joined us for lunch.

June 15, 2006


June 14, 2006

Annika is six months old tomorrow!

June 13, 2006

Gruncle Ted and Grauntie Jane, after a very entertaining bit of shopping in downtown Bend, (Ted especially loved that part) took us out for an early dinner at Merenda. We had an excellent meal...curiously, Michelle's halibut came with a fried egg on top of it - a previously unknown combination to us, but then we don't get out much these days. Serena enjoyed climbing the stairs, and then tossing her flips over the balcony into the main dining area. Good thing we went early!

June 12, 2006

Here's some great video of Annika cracking up at her sister's antics.

June 11, 2006

Kiss for Nana

June 10, 2006

"Look, Lavi, there are the balloons!"

Serena, Annika and I went to Balloons Over Bend at 6:30 this morning. Daddy missed it because he just got home from work at 5:30am.

June 7, 2006

Happy Birthday, Auntie K! (Serena and Annika's Auntie K, not MY Auntie K, who is my Auntie Kathy and their GRaunty K... for the record.)

June 6, 2006

Annika is filling up mor and more of Daddy's tummy/chest area.

Grammy kisses

June 5, 2006

This is one of the reasons we can't imagine living anywhere else right now. This morning I loaded the girls into their stroller first thing and we took a beautiful 65 degree temperature walk downtown. We had coffee (well, I had coffee), juice, a scone then walked back through Drake Park to meet Grammy at Harmon Park to do some swinging. Really, it was just a perfect morning.

Annika and Daddy snuggle.

June 2, 2006

Jim has been working a lot lately. He lost his most active, long-term employee recently. She has been so amazing - available when we need her, very responsible and thoughtful, totally trustworthy. We even had Scout stay with her while we were on our last vacation, that's how much we trust her! Anyway, while we remain grateful to have had her, we have learned a lesson. We need more people we can rely on so that when one has to move on, we're not stuck with Jim sweeping three nights a week!

Anyway, back to my story... This morning, as Jim sleeps in the upstairs guest room, having gotten home around 5am, I hear Serena at the top of the stairs, outside the guest bedroom, saying "Snuggle your daddy? Snuggle your daddy".

"It's raining!"

Suttle lake hike.

May 31, 2006

Someone must have sent some kind of "How to be stereotypically TWO years old" book to Serena for her birthday without us seeing because she has suddenly begun some unexpected and not very fun behaviors. I guess somehow I thought we wouldn't experience the two's the way you hear about. Ha! Serena's sudden and regular favorite new phrase: NO! That's mine, Scout (or Annika)!!

The other thing I heard all day today, at least thirty times (not exaggerating), "Mama, HOLD YOU!!" Even when I was holding her, she'd say it. To be fair, she did catch her finger in a drawer and has one of those lingeringly painful skin-pull sorts of injury. Nonetheless, I am exhausted and especially grateful that both of my beautiful babes are in bed for the night. Whew.

I just watched the movie Prime with Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep. It's very funny, I thought (in spite of some seriously mixed reviews from the experts.)

May 30, 2006

Annika and Serena love to tumble around together and snuggle and giggle and squeal.

Annika's first high chair sit - with props.

Grauntie Jeanne enjoys her first-ever fish taco. "It wasn't bad!"

May 29, 2006

Annika is five and ahlf months old.


This light has always fascinated Annika. I don't know what she sees in there, but when she was just a month or two old sometimes it's the only place we could put her down where she would be calm when she was really upset. Intriguing - something about light...

May 28, 2006

Happy Second Birthday, Moon Pie!

We hid Serena's birthday bike in the garage so we could "ta da" her with it when Grammy and Grauntie Jeanne were here to share in the fun. This morning, even before Jim was awake, I went out to the garage to get something. I didn't realize Serena was right behind me. She said, "Can I have my new bike?" - just as simple and plain as if she'd had the bike for the last year! I did some wimpy diversion tactic that, amazingly, worked! We got to give it to her a few hours later with everyone there to grin and giggle as she explored her new wheels.

See, Grandma Chris, we used the blue egg candle, just like we promised we would!

"It's a faminglo!"

"I'll have this piece!"

The birthday party kids (from left): Parker, Zoe, Sequoia, Aurora (behind Sequoia, on her mom, Tamantha's, lap), Grant, and Serena.

May 27, 2006

I don't know what's wrong with the camera, but here's a fantastic visual of Serena putting on her own "fancy lady diaper".

Serena is into photography. Here's her artistic photo of Mama.

Check out our home-made (organic carrot cake again this year. Hey, it's yummy - why mess with yummy?) b'day cake for Serena's 2nd birthday.

May 25, 2006

Happy Birthday to me! I'm 35.

My cheesecake was an impeccable pairing of Costco baking and Jim's decorating prowess.

May 24, 2006

May 23, 2006

Shopping with Grammy, Grauntie Jeanne and Grandma Chris in Sisters, Oregon. "Can I have this candle?"

Click this picture above to see a snippet of the play dough conversation.

Grandma Chris is here. Serena is digging getting to play play dough, read books, and just generally chat her up.

May 22, 2006

"Look at that polar bear, Grandma Chris!"

Annika's first water bottle. "I'll feed it to her!"

May 21, 2006



"I'll read it to her!"

Surrounded by creative installations of activity and exploration at the Children's Discovery Museum, the first thing Serena is drawn to do is plop down in the ladybug circle and read a book.

A big carb purchase at the Children's Discovery Museum grocery store.

May 20, 2006

Annika is virtually sitting up! She fell over a few minutes after this picture (the slow motion, tipping forward kind of fall that's super-funny to watch), but she's on her way!!

"I'll sit behind Ha-Kah!"

We painted Serena's new picnic table today. Serena helped. As usual, I started with a bang then fifteen minutes in, Annika woke and I carried her around while Grammy pulled the brunt of the project - with Serena doing her work, too, of course. Thank the stars that Grammy LOVES projects! We're getting soo much done right now (and not a lot of thanks to me.) All the while, Grauntie Jeanne was in the house swiffering our floors and folding laundry... tell me, HOW did I get this lucky?!!!

May 19, 2006

Grant came over for some play this morning. It's becoming really fun to watch them play together. They used to just play in the same room, oblivious and unconcerned by one another's company. Now, they follow each other around and play nearby or take one another's toys.

"Grant will have my sippy cup." (And, handing Grant her sippy cut, the unspoken part:" I will have Grant's sippy cup.")

"Cheers!" (and cheers again and cheers again and cheers again - and cheers with Mama and cheers with Lydia and cheers with Scouty and cheers with everyone again... until we think of a distraction!)

Now we have two swings so Annika gets swing time, too. She's happy, our Smiloh.

Jim and I went on a date this evening. Serena had a lovely bath and bedtime routine with Grammy. Annika, on the other hand, wasn't very happy to wake up and find us unavailable. Grauntie Jeanne and Grammy handled it beautifully, considering Annika has the scream of a fire-breather. Grammy called on Jim's cell for some ideas on what might help settle Annika with Annika screaming in the background. While we were preparing to go home because they had tried just about everything, my reaction was dramatically different than it would have been with Serena. I would have flung into the car and stressed the whole way home if Serena had woken up crying. This time, I suggested that they try the bouncy seat (sometimes Annika just wants to be put down, contrary to most of our instinctual reactions to hold, rock, etc.) It worked and Annika went right back to sleep. Grammy called back within a few minutes and we got to stay at the bookstore and have a few more bites of dessert and look at our towering pile of "wish list" books. An interesting lesson... how many times did I rush home with Serena when just a few more minutes of letting go and letting happen would have solved the problem? I'm learning a lot this second kid go-round.

Nursing Annika in our bed this evening, I was running my hand from the top of her peach-fuzz, palm sized back of her head all the way down her little, strong back then across her round, chunky butt to her toes. There are few things I can think of ever experiencing that give me such sweet pleasure (and all the others are about the girls anyway, such as a real cuddly hug from Serena and Annika's sloppy mouth closing in on my nose when I cuddle her face) as this. It occurs to me how precious and fleeting this kind of intimacy is. Not long from now, running my hands along her body will be annoying to her as she will be busy doing lots of other kid things. Then, some time not far from then, it will be unthinkable for me to run my hand along the length of her body (after all, try to imagine right now your mom running her hand the length of your body... isn't that strange, how the idea of it changes?!) It makes me want to stay up all night and cuddle and massage her, thinking someday that "right" will be gone. (I may have gone off on this topic before, with Serena, but it's occuring for me again, anew, with Annika and so I am sharing it as such.)

May 18, 2006

It's 10:30 am and Annika is sleeping. Finally. I, however, am on the verge of tears. We have tried everything that every no-cry book has suggested to get her to take a nap longer than a half hour. We have done stroller rides, car rides, rushed back into her room at the first sound of wake-up. She goes down for her nap peacefully but wakes after 27-32 minutes. We know she needs more sleep because she is tired again in about an hour. She's not getting restorative sleep. She might sleep longer if I could take her whole nap with her, but that's not possible 2-3 times a day with Serena up and about. So, today when she woke at 27 minutes, I let her cry. It is so hard to do it. I can't stand that I did it. It's this horrible no-win situation: if I get her up, I know she's not getting the healthy sleep she needs. And it is my job to care for her health. If I let her cry, I am not comforting her, which is another of the important jobs I do with her. Many people have assured me that the crying will only last a few days, at most, and then she will sleep beautifully and be a happier, healthier baby who can put herself back to sleep peacefully when she has the normal wake ups in her sleep cycles. I get it intellectually. My heart still feels broken.

She's awake now. Bless her sweet soul, she isn't even holding a grudge.

The swing running game where Daddy runs alongside the swing as it goes back and forth, "SO fast!" Grammy plays this game too (in video here.)

May 16, 2006

Grammy and Grauntie Jeanne arrived today. When they walked in the door, Serena flung herself off the couch and dove into Grammy's arms saying, "Grammy!" then into Grauntie Jeanne's arms with similar enthusiasm. Ask Serena what Grammy does and she'll say, "Kissing Bandit!" (kisses all over her face and neck). Ask her what Grauntie Jeanne says and she'll say, "God love ya!". Ask her what Grauntie Tricia says and she'll say, "Go to the rodeo!" (a song Grauntie Tricia sings that goes, "Here we go to the Rodeo. Ho ho ho to the rodeo.")

May 15, 2006

Annika is five months old today

Whoever said you can't be in love with two people at one time must not have had more than one child. I am amazed at the intensity of my love for Annika and Serena. And they each have a huge, specific, very-much-their-own place in my heart. It is like a love affair, in many ways. I miss them when I'm away. I play little vignettes of their laughing, or Serena's little mouth saying words (I so LOVE the way her mouth moves to make words), or the two of them interacting with one another. I close my eyes and take deep, soulful inhalations of their hair and breath. At least once a day I feel myself step out of my body and watch from a place slightly above us and try to capture the moment - the little facial expressions, the sheer joy or curiousity you can see so plainly in their faces. I really would package it, if I could. In that moment I am intenesely aware of its fleeting. They are growing up, minute by minute. I literally feel like I can't get enough of them - can't hold them close enough, often enough. I want to somehow tell them, show them, make them feel how loved they are, how precious. It isn't like this all the time. And for those of you who may be concerned, they don't even know this is happening, for the most part. It's very personal, internal - mine. I have to admit, though, that I am surprised by how often it happens.

Serena is going to be published in the Bend Bulletin newspaper in the NO CAVITY CLUB section! She had her first dentist appointment today - with Dr. Rex, the local pediatric dentist. She loved hanging out in his office and actually requested later in the day that we go back to see the dolphin toy at Dr. Rex's office again. She let Shawn, the dental assistant, apply flouride on her teeth and she was awesome for Dr. Rex's dental examination. She definitely seemed uncertain about the whole thing, but she lay there - teeny little body dwarfed by the big dental chair - and watched Dora the Explorer on the TV they have on the ceiling above the chair. As soon as Dr. Rex said, "Okay, we're finished!", she flung off the headphones and sat up. But she lay there and opened her mouth for him and let him feel all her little teeth while he did the exam. She even gave him a high five when she first met him, at his request. While brushing her teeth tonight with Daddy, she said, "We're doing brusha brusha for Dr. Rex."

May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

Serena is 23.5 months old (two weeks to TWO YEARS OLD!)

Mother's Day front lawn picnic of take out Toomie's Thai food. YUM!

May 11, 2006

Here's my Mother's Day and birthday present (for the next few years, probably). I LOVE it! It's called a Chariot and it converts from a stroller to a bike trailer to a jogger stroller to a cross country ski pulk (with conversion kits). The girls love it because they sit side by side. Annika stares at Serena. Serena tells Annika about her books or coloring pages.

Should I admit here how many strollers we own? Well, it's five. Five strollers. And we use them all. Isn't that something? We have a single jogger, for when one of us or the babysitter, Katie, takes just Serena to the park or for a run (we've had it since Serena was born.) We have a single city stroller for easy maneuverability while shopping with just one kid, or if one is in the sling and the other is in the stroller. We have the umbrella stroller for travel (we expect another of these in a few months, for Annika). We have the tandem front/back double that has been great for traveling around the streets since Annika was born, safely snuggled in her car seat for more security. And now we have the double jogger/stroller for more rugged terrain and running. All this, and we are big believers in carrying our kids. Hm. Should I go into a description of the slings, backpack and front carriers we have as well? Let's just say that they, too, are many. (Okay, six carriers, plus one borrowed hip carrier we're testing out.) I'd feel more wierd about it all if we didn't use them so much. But we USE them. And I have to say, I am a big fan of anything that makes parenting easier.

Always on the search for some way to tame the curls, I'm trying out the foam curlers of old.

Serena's hair turned out MUCH cuter than mine. I'll have to get a picture of her curls. Here she is with her first curlers in her hair - just like Mama. (We only got to one side this first round.)

May 9, 2006

Outcome of the May 2006 Sleep Plan for Annika : ha ha ha haa HAAAAAAAAAAA!

May 7, 2006

Annika rolled over today, both ways! Lots of times! She's probably been capable for a while, but we just weren't putting her on her belly. With great applause from her big sister, she loves to show off her new moves.

"I'm painting a dolphin with Daddy!"

"I have on my hat and sunglasses!"

May 4, 2006

May 2006 Sleep Plan for Annika (after hours of thought, reflection and stacks of books of research...)

Bedtime: Between 6-7, depending on naps. Change into jammies and new diaper. Cuddle on rocking chair in our bedroom and rock for five minutes, humming or singing. Offer her pacis. Walk slowly into her room, telling her, "Now it's time for sleeps." Lay her gently in her crib and tell her, "You have good sleeps and dreams. I love you." Sit back and let her settle around. Wait and watch. Let her find her way to quiet and sleep. If she winds up considerably, pat her rhythmically and say, "shh shh shh." If she continues to wind up, pick her up and rock or sway a bit until she settles down again. Put her back in her crib and try to let her find her way to sleep again. Do as often as necessary. Only hold or pat for minimum amount of time so she has a chance to learn how to settle herself. Do not feed her again for AT LEAST six hours after last feeding around 10pm, and only if 2-3 hours since put-down feeding. If she wakes before next feeding, Jim soothes her with patting, shh-ing, and brief holding if necessary. After 6 hours, I will feed her, burp her and put her back in her bed. If 2.5 to 3 hours pass and she fusses again, I will feed her again. If she's awake (and it's after 6am), say, "Good morning, Sweet Pie! Did you have good sleeps and dreams?" and bring her into living room or open blinds to indicate it's time to wake up and get active.

Naptime: Watch for sleepy signs: quiet and calm, glazed eyes, yawning, rubbing eyes, huuuuhhhnnn sound she makes when tired. ASAP, bring her into her room saying, "It's time for your nap. You'll be so comfy." and rock for a few minutes (with pacis if wants it), singing or humming. Put her down before she closes her eyes to sleep. Lay her gently in her bed and say, "You have good sleeps and dreams. I love you." Sit back and let her settle herself. If she winds up, try shh shh shh and patting. If she winds up further, pick her up and rock for a few minutes, but only as long as necessary to settle her back down. Put her back down and try again to let her settle herself to sleep. Set timer for 25 minutes from when she goes to sleep. Go into the room and watch for stirring. Shh shh shh and pat through the transition time, hopefully putting her back to sleep before she wakes. If necessary, pick her up and rock her back toward sleep to try to extend her nap. When she wakes, turn on the light and say, "Hi! You're awake! Did you have good sleeps and dreams?" to indicate it is time to wake up and get active.

LOG TIME SHE GOES DOWN AND WAKES! Begin looking for sleep signs around 1.5 hours after waking, unless nap was very short or night was wakeful, in which case, begin looking around 1 hour after waking. Catch signs very early so there's time for the routine before sleep.

Don't laugh. This is serious!

"Well, I'm reading. You listen."

Head massage (which would be nice, actually. Since Serena has discovered the true pleasure of massage, she requests it often and for long periods of time. Can't blame her, I suppose. Can't wait until she and Annika can work out trades. And me, too!!)

May 3, 2006

The other day, I told Serena we were going to change her diaper in a few minutes. She said, "Can I change your mind?"

She loves to reflect on things that have happened, sometimes things that happened a long time ago. It's a fun little window into her mind. For example, this morning she was saying, "I was crying and wondering where my pacis was." I'm not sure when that happened, but she was clearly having a memory. She regularly says things like, "We went to the zoo with Cousin Ryan and Uncle Greg! And we saw monkeys, and lions, and giraffes. They were so gentle." (She's referring to the giraffes being gentle because, in fact, they scared her when they got very close to her at the Santa Barbara Zoo. We had a number of subsequent conversations about how the giraffes won't hurt you because they are very soft and gentle.)

Annika is in the thirty minute nap phase that I remember so vividly with Serena. We did tons of research then and yet I can't remember what we actually did about it. My bet is, we just passed the time researching and eventually the phase ended and a new one began. Nonetheless, I am scouring my old and new sleep books to find the answer.

Speaking of phases and changes in parenting, Serena now happily hangs out for an hour after she wakes and about twenty minutes before she falls asleep in her bed. This morning I walked in and she was laying down cuddling with one of her stuffed dolls, Dolly. She leaped up and said, "I was cuddling Dolly." Two days ago, when I went to pick her up from nap before she started requesting, "Up! Up!", I walked in to all of her toys (about 10 of them) nestled under the elastic on her crib sheet. "I'm covering them up! Now they are warm."

May 2, 2006

Annika is just over four and a half months old

Serena put on her jammie bottoms, all by herself. She's been practicing for weeks, but now she does it perfectly.

Annika sleeps for 20 minute naps and wakes closer and closer to 5am, now. We are on a major search for the solution.

May 1, 2006

Naked in the sandbox

Well, this is the sandbox lid. Turns out, she really wants to be IN the sand, and the sandbox is off the ground. She likes to stand in it and since it's on the patio, it makes us too nervous. So, we put a bunch of sand in the lid. This sandbox has a very cool story... I'll tell it later since I'm hurrying now.

April 30, 2006

Happy on her tummy

April 29, 2006

Fishy kiss

April 28, 2006

Serena is 23 months old

Ugh, parenting is hard sometimes. It's hard physically because you have to lug a lot of stuff around all the time and sleep becomes an indulgence instead of a necessity. It's hard practically because you have to remember a lot of stuff when you go places and be organized and plan your time well. But most of all, it's sometimes very hard emotionally. Especially when you make a mistake.

There are all kinds of mistakes, right? There's the mistake where you forget barbeque sauce at the grocery store for the barbeque your parnter is at home cooking right now. Or you forget to tell your partner that his mom called yesterday and asked that he call her back asap. There's even the more embarrassing mistakes like putting the wrong card with a personal note in the envelope addressed to another person. Or, worse, you slip and basically tell your sister that your brother's wife is pregnant when they wanted to tell the news themselves (I tried really hard to cover for it, but she was sooo onto me!) Anyway, my point is, we make mistakes. And they are all the same in that we did something we completely didn't intend to do. We blew it. But when we make a parenting mistake, it's like a whole new realm. It's devastating.

For example, we were all on our patio this evening. Jim and I were finishing dinner, Annika was in her bouncy seat between us on the floor, and Serena was playing in her new sandbox. Serena said, "Can I pour sand on Ha-Kah?" I laughed. It was an absurd question. Still sort of laughing, I said, "No, you may not put sand on your sister!" A few minutes go by where we chat about other things. Suddenly, Serena is laughing and pouring a shovel of sand on Annika's head. I was startled and immediately said, "Serena! What are you doing?! I said No you may not put sand on Annika!" She just stood there, clearly startled and looking confused. I took her hand and took her in the house still angrily explaining why she can't put sand on Annika and how she needs to listen to me when I say "No." I said she needed to apologize to her sister. Serena was crying, though I thought it was because she was in trouble. We went over so she could give her sister a kiss. I was holding Serena at this point and she said, crying sadly, "Maybe her pacis? Maybe her pacis will make her feel better?" It was then that I realized that she was crying because she was sad that she hurt her sister. It was then that I also realized that the reason she looked so confused when I got angry is because I sent a totally mixed message when I laughed while telling her "No" about sand on her sister. She thought it would be funny. I tried to give Serena extra snuggles the rest of the evening and do fun, light things to make her feel better. She's such a sweet girl, she seemed totally fine not too long after. But I wasn't... I felt horrible all evening. And I still feel horrible when I think about it. I don't believe I will forget it for a long time.

April 27, 2006

Car seat cuddle

Every time I tried to take a picture of Annika sucking her thumb (which she recently has become adept at doing. We've always known she would, she's been trying since birth), she'd stop and smile.

'Til I finally caught it on camera!

April 26, 2006

Serena seems to be a sensitive little soul. The other day she threw her little cow friend on the floor and I said, "Oh, that might have hurt cow. He might need a kiss." and she cried for about five minutes. I tried everything to make her feel better but she was just sad about having hurt cow. When we were picking out that same cow at the store, she was having such a hard time because she really wanted to take him with us, but at the same time she kept saying, "He's sitting with his friend." while she'd place him next to the one other black and white cow on the shelf. Finally we found one more black and white one who could stay with the other one that was left behind and she felt better about leaving that cow behind. It makes me both afraid and pleased, to think of her as possibly more on the sensitive side. She can be hurt more easily, maybe, but she's likely to be caring with people and animals.

April 25, 2006

It is fascinating to watch Serena take in, practice and integrate the rules of language. First she just said words. Then she'd say phrases, like "Daddy's black car!" (yes, it was most often in exclamation.) Then she said simple sentences, "Serena drive Daddy's black car! " We started counting the number of words in her sentences for fun. Now, she is practicing with tense. For example, she says, "It camed off." or "I taked it off." See, she knows "ed" is a past tense thing but she doesn't yet know the intricacies of using it and other past tense possibilities. When she says something new or exploratory, she looks at us with a subtle question mark in her expression. She'll keep saying something, again and again, until we respond with either confirmation or a rephrasing. For example, we'll say "Yes, you took off your shoes." in response to, "I taked off my shoes." Then she uses our response to either modify her usage, or think it over at least, or to log it in the file as accurate (or something like that.) I love it! I had no idea how traSnsparent the learning process was, while at the same time it's such a living thing. No one is intentionally teaching her all of these language rules, she's just learning them by example and exploration.

April 24, 2006

Annika has her first tooth! I was wondering if she wasn't working on it because she's been so urgent about her chewing lately. She's been cheery, but so focused on really gnawing on my knuckles or a spoon or whatever she can get her gums on. At her doctor's appointment I mentioned it to her doctor, who felt her gums and proclaimed, "Nope, nothing going on there yet!" Hm.

Family self-photo

Annika digs Serena's new swing. Serena doesn't really dig Annika using her swing so much just now. Well, she likes the idea of it, but when Annika is in and having fun, Serena wants Annika to get out so that she can use it. "It's Serena's turn now!"

April 23, 2006

Toey coloring.

April 22, 2006

Today being Earth Day, we went to our local Procession of the Species parade. It's a very cute small-town style parade where people dress up as animals (and also other random things, like these belly dancers - but see the little chicken on her daddy's shoulders toward the left side of the pictures?) and walk along to drums and other music while those of us too shy or simply unprepared with costume cheer them on from the sidelines. Serena loves a parade. Afterward, we went to the little festival where they were doing drumming music. After a bit of coaxing, Serena started to do "fancy dancing" to the drumming music. Fancy dancing means alternately lifting one foot and then the other and going in a circle, shaking her little booty and arms a bit. I really must get it on video, as I can't do it justice here in words.

Walking on the ceiling! ("Do it AGAIN!!!" - over and over and over.)

This morning Jim massaged Serena's back for a half hour, allowing him to at least lay down for that long since it was barely 6am when she beckoned him into her room.

Man, I miss getting half hour massages... does that come back into the mix at some point?

If Serena falls or somehow gets hurt we know it really did hurt when she says, "Give it a kiss?!" I'll say, "Give what a kiss?", if I'm not clear what is hurting. Sometimes it turns out to be, "My booty."

April 21, 2006

Annika is lounging here in her sweet little sweatsuit from her great grandma GG.

April 20, 2006

Morning reading in bed. And here's some action video of this reading session.

Serena's new swing I found at a garage sale last spring. Garage sales rock! I also found that slide at a garage sale. Total for this home-playground (recycled!) is $13! And she loves it, as do her friends when they come over. That's Grant in the background.

Grant came over for the first time without his mom since I've had two kids of my own. I've been too nervous to take care of three kids at one time. Actually, it's cool because Serena and Grant are now at the age where they like to play together sometimes (as opposed to just parallel play in the same room) which means they entertain one another to some degree. Plus, we had this fantastic home playground! (Did I tell you $13??!!)

Serena has become quite taken with massage. For the last four months or so, she'd say "Saaage" or "Creamy" when she'd get hurt and want us to rub the hurt area. Now, she says, "Can you do massage?" then when you stop after a few minutes she says, "Can you do massage? Can you do massage?" getting more and more urgent until you go back to rubbing her back.

April 18, 2006

Annika went for her four month Dr. Appointment. She is 13lbs, 5.5oz (50th percentile) and 25.25 inches (85th percentile). Her head is 41 centimeters, just a bit above average (big head, big brain, we like to say!) Funny thing, these are almost the exact measurements Serena had at her appointment at this age (actually, Serena was almost 5 months old when she went for her first shots, so she was a pound heavier - but the percentiles are right on for both height and weight! It'll be interesting to see how this evolves, because Annika seems to have bigger hands and feet... we'll see!)

She also got her first round of shots. She got really, really mad. But, after two minutes of full-on, only-Annika-can-cry-like-that crying, she was fine. Strong little bird.

April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!!

Annika's first Easter basket. She got a colorful garden pinwheel and her first swimsuit in her very own personalized Easter basket. She was overwhelmed with joy.

Serena loved her basket from the Easter Bunny. She got fancy purple flower "slips" (flip-flops), a bath book called "Mimi's Toes" (you know how she loves anything to do with toes, shoes, feet), a windsock with a butterfly on it, and a pair of sunglasses with flowers on the corners. She also got to hunt for special Easter Eggs that had "special treats" inside. She really loved the "special treat eggs" very much. All day she'd look around for a stray "special treat egg" and shake it to see if it rattled, indicating a treasure inside.

Serena and Annika in their matching Easter dresses at UU, during Easter brunch after service.

Serena and her friend, Zoe, holding hands during UU Easter brunch. Zoe is three months older than Serena. They love hanging out together. Serena says, "ZOE!!" really loud and excited when she sees her.

April 15, 2006

Happy four months old, Annika!

The Bumbo seat. In spite of her jolly grin, she actually doesn't really like to sit in this clever little contraption. I was all excited to find a lavender one on EBay (with no trivial amount of bidding, mind you!) and she's just not into it. She so loves to be upright - wants to see what's going on all the time. I thought this would be excellent for her. Apparently, she likes to be HELD upright only. Or, maybe it's just this chair... maybe there's something about her not being anatomically set up to sit up yet. This seat seems safe enough, it's soft and really contours nicely... who knows why she doesn't like it. People raved about it on websites. She may also love it tomorrow. You never know what will be popular any given day with either of our little girls. The key seems to be not to get too attached to any one thing being popular, then you can flow with the latest craze easily. (I guess, frankly, I can be that way, too... I like to call it words like spontaneous, experimental, flexible.)

A four month old close up. Mmmmpwaa! I just LOVE her!

Things Annika likes at four months: eye contact. She'll fuss and cry, then when you look at her and smile, she grins ear to ear! She loves to stand on her strong legs. She loves when her sister talks to her. She likes to be tickled, laughing heartily and readily. She likes to sneak peaks at the tv when it's on. She likes napping in my arms and playing "airplane" with her flying above me when I'm on my back. She loves to lay on her changing table by herself and just look around. I can't figure out what's so great about it, but it will stop her from crying and keep her happily entertained when nothing else will. And there's not even anything that exciting around there (except we did hang a tissue paper dragon fly from the ceiling there. But she loved it before that!) She still is soothed reliably bouncing on the exercise ball. That's how we often get her ready for sleep. And she loves taking a warm bath.

Things Annika doesn't like much at four months: long naps. She no longer likes being swaddled. She likes/dislikes her pacis - depending on what, I'm not sure what. She doesn't like to be left alone in a room, even momentarily, except when she's on her changing table. She doesn't like to lay down in the sling, unless she's really tired. Hold her upright, not in "sleep" style or she'll get mad - again, unless she's really sleepy. She doesn't like to do stuff she doesn't feel like doing (she gets mad when we put her in the car seat if she has other ideas of what to do, for example.) And when she's mad, she lets you know!

We had a fantastic vacation. Our place in Santa Barbara was excellent. It was cozy, clean, nicely decorated and in a perfect location. If you're ever planning a vacation in Santa Barbara and need a condo, write to me. I'll pass along this place. Anyway, it was even better when we got to Greg, May and Ryan's. We did lots of swimming in the hot tub (and a tiny bit of swimming in the very cold swimming pool), playing basketball, swinging on the swing, playing darts and trains and Transformers, eating tons of delicious food, and just generally relaxing.

As always, it's nice to be home. If only it were a bit warmer... And where's our Central Oregon sunshine? It's been a long Winter this year.

When I got home, I received my acceptance letter from Oregon State University into their Master's in Counseling program. I'll be heading back to school June 26th two evenings a week for the next three years. Woo - hooo!

April 13, 2006

Serena is 22.5 months old.

Cousin Ryan was showing us his karate moves. For a belt test, he had to memorize 61 moves in a row, which he did beautifully. As you can see, Annika thinks his moves are fabulous.

Uncle Greg and Annika spent a lot of time together on our visit with them. She loved just hanging out while he held her facing out to watch all the activity. He also gave her many opportunities to do "strong legs" (like she's doing here), which she really appreciates.

Ryan taught Serena how to do an Easter Egg hunt in this practice round. Now she's all set for Easter! (That's Daddy's belt she's wearing. Ryan had on his karate belt while he did his 61-move karate demonstration and Serena wanted to wear a belt, too. So, here she is as a "black belt." Is this a sign of things to come??)

Riding Ryan's Green Machine he got for his recent birthday.

Driving with Cousin Ryan. (Oh, wow... I'm having forward-flashes... look at her in the driver's seat! Aaaaaaahhhkkkk!)

April 12, 2006

Outside shower after swimming. Lovin' the naked baby thing, however she can make it happen.

Greg, May and Ryan surprised Jim with a birthday cake. It was super-decadent delicious chocolate mousse raspberry. I actually had to shake him quite aggressively to wake him up from sleeping on the floor next to Serena to come out and have cake this night. He fell asleep while telling her "A Kitty Story" (the usual bedtime, falling asleep ritual that is just as likely to put him to sleep as her.)

April 11, 2006

Playing hoop in Greg, Ryan and May's backyard.

Happy Birthday, May!

April 9, 2006

Our Santa Barbara condo was three blocks from this beach. Ever since reading about Sandcastles in her D.W. All Wet book, Serena has been planning her sandcastle adventure. The moment has arrived, and Grammy is making sure it's not a disappointment!

Speaking of her books, Serena loves to "read" her books. She will sit and narrate the story almost as it actually reads (she skips around a bit and leaves some stuff out). She'll say, "I'll read Arthur's Jelly Beans. You listen." Then she'll say, "Arthur's Jelly Beans by Mark Brown." or "Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff."

She loved loved loved playing in the sand at the beach. Uncle Greg and Ryan brought this cool sandcastle building kit with little shovels, melon-ballers, cups, a funnel - all sorts of things that will make a great sandcastle, or just make for fun sand play. We finally had to coax her into the stroller for a stroller-nap, which meant pushing the rented Maclaren double stroller (not a jogger stroller) on the wet sand along the water and hoisting it over the little rivers when we came upon them. What we do to get a nap in is really something!

April 8, 2006

First hair braids. All ready to meet Uncle Greg and Cousin Ryan at the Santa Barbara Zoo. (The braids didn't make it all the way through the car ride.)

Holding hands with Cousin Ryan. This is how Ryan showed Serena all of the zoo (this is his stomping ground, being a member of the zoo and having been there many times.) It's funny, Serena would not want us to hold her hand all day like this, but she loved it with her cousin. I wonder what that is... is it because he's smaller? Or does he just have an energy she really enjoys? (Both of which are true... just curious how she decides something like this.)

Standing on one leg, like the Flamingos!

The Flamingos

April 7, 2006

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Birthday nose-bump.

Actually, we kept saying to Serena, "Tell Daddy Happy Birthday, Serena!" And she'd say, "Happy Birthday, Mama!" or "Happy Birthday, Grammy!" or "Happy Birthday, Annika!" but she wouldn't say "Happy Birthday, Daddy!" She finally did - maybe we just wore her down and she wanted to quiet us.

Hot chocolate with LOTS of whipped cream. And Annika in the background in our super-handy rented double stroller. We also rented a bouncy seat, both from Santa Barbara Baby Company. They were very handy to have. I will now rent baby stuff on every vacation! It makes things so much easier.

April 6, 2006

We met Grammy at the Salt Lake City airport and we all flew together from there to Santa Barbara. (I know that seems strange from Bend. It's just not easy to get to and from Bend.) This was a very welcome arrangement both because we got to see Grammy sooner, and because Jim and I had gone to bed about 1am and gotten up at 4am to get to the airport for our 6:30am flight. Serena and Grammy had a lovely time playing play-doh on the plane.

Annika's first plane ride went beautifully.

April 3, 2006

I had a UU Membership Committee meeting this afternoon, to which I brought Annika. She lay on the floor in the home of our committee chair, Maxine, just chatting away the entire hour! Sometimes she was louder than we were and we'd all just stop and laugh. Linda, another member, said, "I have never heard a three and a half month old baby talk so much, ever!" She's definitely got things to say. I cannot WAIT to be able to understand what they are!

April 2, 2006

"One more minute?" or "A coupla more minutes?" So, we set the timer, or, if I don't have a timer handy, I tell her I'm setting the timer and I just say, "Beep, beep, beep!" after about a minute has passed. Miraculously, it usually works! She'll say, "One more minute?" again, but when we remind her that we just did one more minute, she usually surrenders to the next plan.

Serena has started "reading" her books now. Yesterday, she was in our closet saying all the words to "D.W. Gets Wet", her current favorite book (from the library, which makes it tricky since we have to return it soon).

What a difference a year makes... above is Serena gardening this year (22 months old); below is Serena "gardening" in April of last year (10.5 months old).


April through August 2006

New Baby's Ultrasound pic: 20 weeks

Serena's Ultrasound pic: 19 weeks

Long Song Playing mp3 (with lyrics


"I'm giving her a kiss" Serena 22 months, Annika 4 months

Serena sliding down the duck slide 20.5 months

Serena "Noooo" 16 months

Serena laughing 16.5 months

Serena's golf swing 16.5 months

Serena chatting up her watermelon 15.5 months

Serena plays basketball 14.5 months

Serena's Frankenstein walk 14 months

Serena swimming with her daddy 13.5 months

Serena with her walking toy 12 months

Serena plays basketball 12 months


Annika's facial expression video 2months

Annika with her playmat toy speedbag almost 2 months

Annika chatting 1 month

Annika's ultrasound at 20 weeks gestation



Jan-Feb-Mar 2006

Oct-Nov-Dec 2005 Annika Arrives

July-Aug-Sept 2005

Apr-May-June 2005

Jan-Feb-Mar 2005

Oct-Nov-Dec 2004

August - September - Serena

June-July 2004(Serena Arrives)

May 2004

April 2004

March 2004

February 2004

January 2004

December 2003

November 2003


email Chelle

email Jim