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December 28, 2007

Week 13 | Ari's First Wigilia and Christmas

Ari - Week 13

Arianna's presence made our annual Wigilia — the authentic Polish Christmas Eve dinner Ania cooks every year — an even happier tradition.

Ari adds warmth to Christmas Eve

She was cranky that day since she'd had trouble sleeping, and ended up getting over-tired. I took her for a ride to try to lull her to sleep while Ania finished cooking. She slept for a while, but eventually started screaming, so I stopped at Kennedy Grove to check on her.

Nothing seemed to calm her for very long, and I was worried that people wouldn't understand — she was really screaming — that this is just how it is with babies sometimes. Just as I was thinking that, an understanding mom stopped on her way out to commiserate and offer moral support, recalling how her daughter, now older, and sitting next to her, used to do the same thing. A cool thing about being in the "parent club" is that the other "members" know how it is.

She was still a bit fussy at dinner, but nothing could dampen our delight at her being with us.

PHOTO SUMMARY - Ari's First Wigilia

Ari got lots of great gifts this Christmas -- we can already see that Uncle Dave is going to be spoiling her, and Aunt Vanessa put her in her very own book -- but two were "historically" important: Grandma Wanda (Ania's mom) sent a doll from Poland that is just like ones that Ania grew up playing with. It's a great way to pass along some of her Polish heritage. My parents found a copy of "Young Years", the storybook full of nursery rhymes and fables they read to Jene and me when we were children. I have fond memories of those stories and the times spent reading them, and look forward to creating similar memories for Arianna.

PHOTO SUMMARY - Ari Christmas gifts

We made our traditional Christmas Day visit to the Elmgrens, followed by dinner at Vanessa & Terry's, where the family always enjoys Christmas dinner with lots of holiday cheer.

Christmas at Elmgrens Ari with Daddy

Ari enjoyed some time with Uncle Kenny, who used to hold me when I was a baby.

Ari with Uncle Kenny

Milestones & Metrics

  • Enjoyed her first Wigilia, our annual Polish Christmas Eve dinner.
  • Celebrated her first Christmas.
  • Started looking at her hands, seeming to recognize that they're part of her.
  • Can hold the rattle if you put it in her hand.
  • Seems to really enjoy -- and participate in -- sitting up exercises.
  • Had her first shower with Mommy and really enjoyed it!
  • Ania discovered something that makes Ari laugh; she thinks it's hilarious when Ania puts her toes up to her mouth. It's amazing to see our baby laugh!
  • How Arianna looks this week:
    Ari Closeups - Week 13

December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas, 2007!

Merry Christmas 2007 Christmas Card 2007

Marlena took the photos on our Christmas card.

December 21, 2007

Week 12 | Ari's First Christmas Tree

Ari - Week 12

We were happy to include Ari in our tradition of getting a Christmas tree at the Alhambra Valley Tree Farm on Reliez Valley Road. Ania and I have been going there since our first Christmas together, seven years ago, and we look forward to it each year. We got the tree a bit late this year so there weren't as many trees as we'd hoped to show her. Ania introduced Arianna to our Christmas tree and we had fun showing her how to put it up and decorate it, which she seemed to enjoy.

Ari's first Christmas Tree - Week 12

It was a fairly social week; we had a nice brunch with Zach, Liz, and Taylor, and went to see Bee Movie, Ari's first movie, with Ollie, Anna, and Zabie. Despite our expectations we all actually enjoyed the movie, and Ari did really well in the theater. Ania took Ari to meet her friends at work, whom she hadn't seen since going out on maternity leave. She said she was very proud of Ari, who was very happy and pleasant as she was being fawned over by everyone. Colin, Sarah, Maggie, & Sam came over for a visit, too, but unfortunately, Ari missed them since she was asleep the whole time.

Ari's first movie - Week 12

Ari and Ania had fun at Gymboree this week, making and decorating a commemorative footprint stamp of Ari's feet.

Ari's footprints  - Week 12

Milestones & Metrics

  • Got her first Christmas tree
  • Went to her first movie, Bee Movie
  • How Arianna looks this week:
    Ari Closeups - Week 12

December 14, 2007

Week 11 | Having Fun

Ari - Week 11

Ari is two and a half months old now, and she's is definitely more "awake" than during her newborn weeks, both literally and in terms of awareness and perception.

Ari looking out from crib - Week 11

She's been learning to play more this week, as well as to socialize. Ania took her to Gymboree for the first time, and she had a ball. It was her first time around so many other kids at once, and she did great.

Ari at Gymboree Week 11

I took Ania and Ari to Pleasant Hill park, where I used to like to play (and swim) when I was a kid. I went to a great day camp during the summers, and one day a week was the day we went to the "park pool"; the public pool at the park.


View Larger Map

Pleasant Hill park was pretty much the holy grail of parks when I was young. My favorite place to play was a really cool semi-underground grotto area in the back of the giant main sandpit. You could go a little ways underneath the deck of the play structure above, and it was always the perfect spot for building sand castles. When I got older, it was my baseball team's home field.

Ania at Pleasant Hill Park

Although it's changed, it's a nice, big park, and I hope Arianna enjoys it over the years. It's the first time I've taken Ania there too, which is unfortunate. I think a great benefit of having a child is that we'll have a great reason to go to more parks — something Ania and I have always really enjoyed — more often. The park tends to bring out the kid in both of us.

Milestones & Metrics

  • Ari's really smiling a lot now, and "talking" to us a lot.
  • She's much more conscious of our presence, often holding our gaze, which is mesmerizing.
  • She's holding her head up very well now. And doing pretty well with sitting up.
    Ania teaching Ari to sit - Week 11
  • She continues to enjoy and be engaged in looking at pictures while Ania reads to her (she's been reading Polish story books).
  • She scared us for a while by refusing to take the bottle for a few attempts, but we were persistent, and she eventually cooperated (after I went on and on about the virtues of cooperating with us, and how that's good for all of us, etc.). Ania introduced me to the value of distracting Ari and revisiting a topic or activity, which worked brilliantly.
  • How Arianna looks this week:
    Ari Closeups - Week 11

December 07, 2007

Week 10 | Ari Flirts With Sleeping All Night

Ari - Week 10

Ari is starting to smile and coo a bit more this week, to everyone's delight. She's also taking a very visible interest in books.

Mommy reading to Ari

She and I hung out and had some extended "Daddy/baby time" on Saturday, while Ania went and had lunch with some friends from work in San Francisco. I think it was our longest stretch alone together so far, and we had a great time! Ari was happy and cooperative, and Ania was able to relax and have some baby downtime for a while (very important, no matter how much one enjoys being a parent), knowing she was in good hands.

We were at Mom & Dad's, and knew Carter's parents, Teresa & Curtis were coming to visit, so we stuck around a while so Ari could meet her "grandparents-in-law".

Grandparents-in-law visit Ari

Milestones & Metrics

  • How Arianna looks this week:
    Ari Closeups - Week 10
  • She had her first full night's sleep! (~8:30pm - 6am) This happened after she was fussy all day, but hasn't happened since. It wasn't log ago that she started sleeping in her crib in her own room.
  • She's really using her vision now, taking everything into account, but sometimes almost seeming to study things.
  • She's definitely quite aware of us, and stares at each of us. It feels great to have her recognize us!
  • Ania's been teaching her to sit up, and strengthen her tummy muscles.