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November 30, 2007

Week 9 | Arianna is Two Months Old

Ari - Week 9

Arianna's ninth week was full of smiles:

PHOTO SUMMARY - Week 9; Ari smiling

Ari got her 2-month vaccinations at her doctor appointment this week, and she did great! As expected, she did scream, but Ania did a really good job of comforting her and calming her down. We especially want to thank Jené for two recommendations she made:

  • Look into giving her Children's Tylenol beforehand. - That may have made her more comfortable. We called our doctor in advance to ask about this, and they said they recommended a dosage based on measuring her current weight, so we gave it to her at the doctor's office, after doing that. (She's 13 pounds!)
  • Get the lot numbers of the vaccines. - We did this, although our doctor's office reassured us that they keep them on file too. It really was nice to have, though, when a story came out two weeks later about a recall on some childrens' vaccines. It turns out ours were from a different manufacturer, but it was great to be able to see that as soon as we heard about the recall, and not have to wait to talk to the doctor's office in the morning.

Milestones & Metrics

  • How Arianna looks this week:
    Ari Closeups - Week 9
  • Turned two months old! (28 Nov)
  • Weight: 13 pounds @ 9 weeks old.
  • Ari wasn't as strong lately at raising her head, but we increased her "tummy time", and she's back to her old strong self.
  • Ari discovered she can put her hands in her mouth, which has opened up a whole new world of entertainment.
  • It really seems like she's more aware of us now, which is a great feeling. She is definitely more aware of her surroundings too.
  • She's starting to coo; wow, talk about cute!

November 23, 2007

Week 8 | Giving Thanks for Ari

Ari - Week 8

Ari seems to be mellowing out a lot this week! That's either related to having a slight cold/congestion, or perhaps she did have a stomach bug before (my dad and Lily both did as well), and now she's gotten over it. Either way, we're really happy! We had a little scare this Saturday; Ari appeared to be choking on her own saliva. The doctor said it's normal, but probably exacerbated by the cold. It ended up only lasting a day, which was reassuring.

Tracy & Dave were in town, and came by to meet Arianna. Deborah also came over, as well as Dave B., and we all went out for Friday night pizza, which was fun. We're all still in shock that we're hanging out with my baby, but we all really enjoyed the hang out.

PHOTO SUMMARY - Tracy, Dave, Deborah, & Dave visit Ari

When Ania was a child, her mother would put her under an apple tree at her grandmother's house, in her bassinet. Ania wanted Ari to know what that's like, so one brisk day, she bundled her up and put her under our apple tree (which is part of why Ania liked our house when we first saw it). It was a perfect Fall day, with warm sunshine, and a crisp coolness in the air. Ari seemed to love it, and had a very nice nap!

Ari sleeping under the apple tree

This week, we had our first Thanksgiving with Arianna. We had a delicious dinner at Kenny & Shirley's, with the rest of the local extended family. I love this picture of Mom, showing Arianna pictures of my grandmother, and lots of other members of our family, as well as us, over the years. I've been thinking about how those pictures — which I probably haven't looked at since showing them to Ania early on, and who knows when before that — convey and connect the past to the present. Perhaps for Arianna's great grandchild will be shown these entries on some holographic digital wall, many years from now.

Showing Ari family history

We are of course, both thankful to have Ari, and that she's such a healthy baby. I have to take a moment, though, and give thanks to Ania, for giving me the joy of this experience.

One of the things I worried about before we had Arianna was that this experience might not affect me like I heard everyone say it did them. I had a hard time believing it could be such a big deal; I figured people were just exaggerating how wonderful and amazing this experience is. What if it didn't such a deep, emotional impact on me? Dad always said "it really exemplifies the word 'awesome'!" and I'd think, yeah, yeah, he's just saying that to make sure I know I wasn't a burden; it couldn't possibly have been that big a deal. But no, Dad, you were right; I am in awe. We have created another human being, she's wonderful and beautiful, and I'm deeply moved!

Thankful for Ari

Of course, I knew that this too would be fine with Ania at my side. In this case, though, it's more than my aforementioned feeling that Ania's a great partner; she's a remarkably capable, conscientious, and loving mom. This is no surprise, though; if you ever saw her with the kids she took care of when she was au pair, it was clear she's a natural. To see how in her element Ania is right now adds a lot to how rewarding this experience is. I'm sure every father feels a certain increase of respect in seeing the mother of his child in her new role, but to see Ania's level of energy, commitment, and focus is humbling.

Milestones & Metrics

  • How Arianna looks this week:
    Ari closeups - Week 8
  • Arianna seems to have discovered her arms this week, often pushing the bottle away, then getting mad because she doesn't have the bottle. I can't help but start laughing out loud at this, which doesn't add to my attempts to keep midnight feeding time mellow.
  • Ania showed Ari her first flowers.
    Ania introduces Ari to flowers

November 16, 2007

Week 7 — Ari spends her first night in her crib!

Ari had a little less activity this week, than last, and that's probably a good thing. It's been great to see and introduce her to everyone, but we don't want her to get overwhelmed; babies do need a lot of downtime and rest!

Ari - Week 7

She's still been very social this week, visiting the Elmgrens, meeting Kerry for her and Ania's weekly lunch, visiting with Marlena. She also went to San Francisco for the first time, for brunch with Taylor, Rossy, and Christian.


Milestones & Metrics

  • First visit to San Francisco.
  • How Arianna looks this week: Ari closeups - Week 7
  • The big news this week is that Ari spent her first night (16 Nov 2007) in her crib!
    • It's been very pleasant and reassuring to have her in her bassinet, right beside our bed, but she's on the cusp of outgrowing it, and we want to get her accustomed to her crib early on. For one thing, we don't want her to be terribly conscious of the transition, so she doesn't interpret it as something negative. We want her to have a strong sense of independence, with a foundation in the reassurance of our presence and love.

      I'm sure that just as finessing the transition of a baby on the verge of sleep from being held to being put down, this transition isn't an exact science, where the same thing applies to each baby. It's great to have lots of books and advice, but this is what felt right for us. I remember being almost shocked — perhaps even judgmental; that's so easy to do, before you've been a parent — when a neighbor recently mentioned when they made the transition at some time before ten weeks. I thought that was so early. That was, of course, before I had my own baby. And now here we are doing it at seven weeks!

      To prepare for this transition, we began early on to include the crib — where she enjoys observing her mobile and wiggling — in the rotation of locations to which we've exposed her to being without one of us holding her. The bouncy seat, swing, floor entertainment center, and blanket, are others, and she's happy to enjoy each for varying amounts of time.

      Ari sleeping in her crib

      We also got a video baby monitor. We initially put off getting a monitor, because I knew I wanted to research video monitors, and hadn't yet done so. In the interim, we used a cool hack I found on Parent Hacks: use your mobile phone as a baby monitor, which worked really well. The video monitor was worth the wait, though, and I highly recommend one. It really lets you relax — after you learn to not simply sit and watch it — since you can visually get a sense of the situation, and evaluate whether or not you need to physically go to the baby. Many noises are deceptive, and often don't convey as much as information as video. I'd give the one we got, the Bebe Sounds Portable Color Video and Sound Monitor, a B+. The only negative is it has a bit more static than I'd like. It's not constant, nor enough to return it, but that's its one minor weakness. That's far outweighed by its benefits, though, and its night vision feature is excellent!

      What we didn't think to prepare for was how it would be for us to not have her right there next to us. Wow, it's surprising how quickly we've gotten used to enjoying having her right there with us, and how much it tugs at us to have her further away. This transition was probably a much bigger deal for us than for Arianna. Despite the video monitor, Ania ended up taking a blanket and pillow and spending the first night in the nursery with Ari. She wanted to be sure herself that Ari would be ok, and to make sure her baby knew she was there for her. I couldn't think of a sweeter way to reassure Ari that we'll never be far.

      Update: Ari's doing great, and seems quite happy sleeping in her crib! We're doing well with it too, and happy to have passed this milestone so smoothly.

November 09, 2007

Week 6 — Enjoying Family and Friends

Ari's sixth week was full of visiting with family and meeting new friends. We continued to enjoy hanging out with Jené, Carter, and Lily, who came from Kentucky to meet Ari, but both they and we had busy social calendars, introducing people to our new daughters.

Arianna was born on a Friday, so the first photo in each week's entry is always one taken on the Friday of that week, though the others are from throughout the week. This way, we'll have a photographic record of how she looked at weekly intervals as time progresses. Someone gave Lily a really cute dress but it's too small for her now, so Jené brought it with her for Ari to try. She's about 5 minutes away from outgrowing it too, but we think it makes for an adorable picture of how she looks this week!

Ari - Week 6 Fall walk

We enjoyed the beautiful day Saturday (the "beginning" of the week) by going for a fall walk with Jené, Carter, and Lily. Then Carter and I built a crib — that Leona's son, Ricky, lent us along with some other great baby gear; thanks! — at Mom & Dad's house for Lily to sleep in during her visit. Carter and I seem to be developing a tradition of building and fixing things together, which we both enjoy. We also got a changing table and put that together, so now we have a pretty good nursery setup at Mom & Dad's house.

That afternoon, Kenny & family came over to Mom & Dad's house with his unforgettably delicious hot links, BBQ chicken, and ribs, and we had a nice extended family dinner. Lori, a long-time family friend who used to teach Jené and me when we were kids at Montessori school, came to meet Ari and Lily. It had been a long time since we'd seen her, and was a really nice treat! Jené and I both have nice memories of riding in the back of her red VW bug (old-school, 25+ years ago) listening to and all singing Funky Town at the top of our lungs. Ari also got to meet Uncle Terry (technically my cousin-in-law), who was out of town when Vanessa met her.

PHOTO SUMMARY - Family BBQ Ari and Eliza

Sunday, we got to meet Allan and Denise's new daughter, Eliza, at Denise's baby shower. Eliza arrived a bit earlier than expected, so it was great to be able to celebrate her arrival with her there! The girls both slept through most of it, but I look forward to them getting to know each other.


I'm really glad Jené, Carter, and Lily came to visit. Aside from the general enjoyment of hanging out with them, it was great to see Lily again, and ooh and aah about how much she's change in such a short time (she was still just a newborn when we went to meet her in June), and I know it means a lot to Jené to experience Ari as an infant. I'm glad we're able to start building a connection between Ari and Lily; I really do hope they'll become friends and have an active relationship. Modern communication technologies really do shorten the distance between here Kentucky pretty well, so there's some hope for that.

I've noticed that having a child really does deepen my sense of family. It was really satisfying to have so much of our growing family all together, celebrating these adorable new members. The wonder, joy, and delight we're all sharing is a welcome happy note on which to bring us all together.

Growing Family

Ari also met Leah & Ted's new daughter, Isabella this week. Leah came over for a visit, and the four girls spent a fun afternoon together.

Ari and Isabella

Milestones & Metrics

  • Ari gave us our first real, social smile this week, and Ania and I were both there to see it together! We were at the changing table, and she just flashed it out of nowhere, but we were both looking at her (and probably smiling at her without realizing it) and saw it at the same time. Even though we didn't have the camera to catch it, that sweet moment is a memory we'll always cherish. Here are some of the moments we did capture in photos.
  • How Arianna looks this week: PHOTO SUMMARY - Ari Week 6

Did I mention that we adore our daughter?

November 02, 2007

Ari's Fifth Week — Cousin Lily Comes to Visit

I am totally in love with our baby girl, and a large part of me wishes she could stay like this; such an adorable, soft, warm, and delightful ball of life we get to hold, feed, and enjoy.

Ari - Five Weeks

I know there are great things about each phase of childrens' growth, but I really get it now how people can be so crazy about babies! I know she can't stay this way, and I look forward to all the joys to come, but there's really something special about this time!


Ari's fifth week began with a beautiful fall walk we took with Dave. Fall walk

When we were young, Jené and I spent many summers in North Carolina, visiting and playing with our cousins (who apparently are actually cousins once removed). We both have fond memories of those easy days of swimming, barbeques, catching fireflies, and helping to make homemade ice cream.

This week, Jené & Carter brought Lily, my 5 1/2 month old neice, (whom we met back in June) from Kentucky to meet Arianna. The two seemed to hit it off, and we're looking forward to them developing a strong relationship, despite the distance; they've already seen each other when we videoconference with Skype. I hope they will one day reflect with such a pleasant nostalgia on the memories of our families' visits.

PHOTO SUMMARY - Ari and Lily


  • Ari is now more than one month old! Counting in weeks still allows for good precision, but before I was a parent, it never seemed relevant, and was too specific for me. We'll probably still think in weeks for a while, but very soon we'll be counting in months!
  • She's starting to follow our faces & voices, and definitely seems more aware of us.
  • At her doctor appointment this week, she weighed 10 lbs, 10oz!
  • This week was Ari's first Halloween!
Ari's first halloween

Could she smell the candy...?