Monday, December 20, 2010

[Jon] Guest-Blogger Dad: Three months

So what's the deal with Alice’s work/stay-at-home dad? Why does this guy post random nonsense on Facebook at four in the morning? I know this is these are questions you’ve all been wondering. Well, Alice’s dad here, guest-blogging on Growing Up Senge.

Well, the short answer to all of that is I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home and care for Alice during the day. I work for an extremely accommodating and wonderful little company based here in LA called Alfred Music Publishing. Those of you who learned to play the piano as kids likely learned from the Alfred’s Basic Piano Course.

I work as a music engraver for the department that makes music for school and church bands, orchestra, choirs, handbell choirs, marching bands, and jazz bands. Based on that job title, I know you're envisioning me with lead plates and chisels *tink tink tink-ing* away music notes, but it's all computerized now. I prepare music for publication. I make it all look correct and nice. It's a pretty solitary gig, so many of us in the company work off-site.

My work day begins at 4:00 A.M. with a hearty amount of coffee and the East Coast feed of NPR’s Morning Edition. I generally enjoy being up before everyone else, so this wasn't that big of a shock to my system. That said, getting up a 4 A.M. never gets easier, even three months later. 

For the next six or so hours, I plug away on various projects I have in the queue. The big one is a beginning school band and orchestra series. I've spent 95% of my work life on for the past 2 1/2 years.
Those of you with kids, keep that book cover in your mind, your kids may eventually learn to play an instrument out of it. At least that's what we’re hoping!

At 8:30, Erin leaves for work and Alice is already sawing logs in her first nap of the day. She usually wakes up around 10:00 or so and then it's time to put my dad hat on. Bottles, Applecado Sauce, diapers, stroller walks, running errands with the rest of the world's moms, and endlessly rolling around on the floor. The real fun has begun (truth and sarcasm both implied here) now that Alice can, as they say, "creep." Don't keep up with the parenting lingo but reading this baby blog anyway? "Creeping" is a slightly more advanced skill from the early stage of dragging one’s self by the forearms. It’s a lot like that, but involves the feet and legs and much more intent and control. Just imagine army crawling—without the barbed wires and M-16 in hand. It’s a ton of fun now that she’s more interactive and giggly about stuff. The flip side of that is the constant hovering and need to stay one step ahead all of the time she's free on the floor. She doesn’t so much care for anything that contains her for very long. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a dream when there's no other alternative for her - like out in public she rarely makes a peep. But when the living room floor is in sight, that’s the place she wants to be. 

We spend the next couple of hours together doing stuff, listening to music, reading books and playing with toys until the noon feeding. A good helping of the delicious baby food concoction du jour, vitamins and a clean diaper, then it’s off to bed for another two-ish hours and back to work for me. Repeat all of that once more and that’s my day. When I put her down for her 4:00 nap my day is basically done. She’ll typically sleep from 4 until we wake her up after dinner, but then Erin’s back on duty. Beer me!

Before I started this, I thought it was going to be much more difficult to manage it all, but Alice has been a dream of a baby. I don’t have any other experience with kids, so this is all I know, but I can imagine her being a lot harder to take care of. She’s pretty independent and content most of the time. Barring any actual problems/illnesses/teething issues there are only three things a baby needs and they all happen every day, usually in the same order at roughly the same times of the day. If that's a schedule, fine, but even off a schedule the same three things are going to happen day in and day out. Based on our experience, my advice to parents is just pay attention to those three things and work with them instead of imposing your own will or alternatively being completely unaware of your kid’s cues to you. Alice is on a pretty great schedule that seems to work for all of us, but that changes week to week at this age, so as her grandparents like to say, we “stay agile.”

I feel like the luckiest guy ever with this little life I have with my wife, little girl, and cats. I love nearly every second of what I’m doing and cherish more than anything else, all of this time and first experiences I get to share with Alice. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I do hope this starts the two of us off on a really positive father-daughter relationship.

In case you were wondering, Applecado Sauce is home-made apple sauce and avacados. Alice loves it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

So thankful.

Thankful for last week's marathon of turkey dinners and leftovers, for pumpkin pie, for family near and far. Thankful for my little family and the comforts of our little home. Thankful for a wonderful job, and a little holiday weekend box office success to celebrate at work.

Thankful for cool weather and California sunshine. Thankful for a stroll down the San Clemente pier last weekend.

Thankful for my little kitties, and all the amusement, joy, and love they bring to us. 

Thankful that I'm this one's mama; for her muppet-mouth grin and her non-verbal vocabulary. For her sweet, sweet baby breath, powder-soft skin, and feathery hair. Thankful for each new development and discovery - This morning, I spied her sitting up all by herself in her crib, just like this...
Thankful that the Christmas season has finally arrived, and I don't (yet) feel overwhelmed! Thankful to be looking forward to getting and decorating Alice's first Christmas tree this weekend, baking the first batch of Christmas cookies, and hopefully getting some shopping done!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Since we've been married, we've alternated where we spend the holidays, trying to divide the two biggies evenly between both sets of parents from year to year. Luckily, we only have two sets of parents to juggle (instead of four - or more - like many I know) and both sets are equally accommodating and understanding. Neither of them pressure us to do anything in particular, or make us feel guilty about what we choose. I hope they both know they're BOTH our favorite parents!

Anyway, with this new babysitting arrangement, we're lucky to see the Jon's parents a few times a month and my parents for an extended weekend once a month. It's the perfect opportunity to enjoy family holiday celebrations in our own home, which we've never really done before. I'm especially happy because even though I know she's too young to remember now, I want Alice to experience a lot of family traditions and celebrations at home as well as with grandparents or other family. This last weekend, we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents while they were in town, since we won't be seeing them for the actual turkey day. It was a first for both Alice and I; her first Thanksgiving experience and the very first time I cooked or hosted a Thanksgiving feast. I was delighted to have a proper table and chairs for the occasion!

I planned a fairly traditional and straightforward menu without any excessively elaborate dishes or preparations and was feeling pretty capable until I read a collection of holiday hosts' horror stories that shook my confidence. If I had more time or more house or more uninterested cats, I would have ironed my table cloth; planned out my centerpiece and table setting; and assembled, organized, and cleaned my serving pieces. I didn't stress though, everything got to the table with little more chaos than the obligatory mad-dash just before serving time. Everything was delicious AND warm, we didn't run out of anything AND we have plenty of leftovers. Success!

The only thing missing was my sister, who couldn't make the trip down for the weekend. She joked that we should set a place for her with a photo and a candle. My dad took that seriously and stuck a photo from our fridge in the husk of the Indian corn centerpiece. My mom didn't even notice until halfway through the meal. See if you can spot her in the photo below...

Traditional candied yams with marshmallows (left), and one slightly well-done Pumpkin Pecan Pie (right).
I was hoping to get my first holiday feast under my belt without any mishaps or catastrophes, but there was one minor casualty. For dessert, I made a traditional pumpkin pie and a "Two-fer Pumpkin Pecan Pie" from this book (my very favorite cookbook) by the unparalleled Dorie Greenspan. The traditional "Libby's famous" pumpkin pie was flawless - that is, until a can fell out of the cabinet above the pie and left a delicate circular imprint on the top - and baked to perfection. However, the pumpkin pecan was not quite so perfect.

Dorie Greenspan suggests that the "Two-fer" is best the day it is made and recommends it be served warm. No problem, says I, and pop it in the oven just as we sit down to dinner. I figured it would be perfectly cooked and cooled by the time we're ready to eat for dessert. The recipe calls for baking the pie at 450 degrees for 10 minutes before reducing the temperature to 300 degrees and baking another 35-40 minutes. I dutifully set and reset the kitchen timer, but neglected to reduce the oven temperature. The pie emerged a bit, um, carmelized. Or scorched. Or blackened. We ate it anyway, and it was indeed delicious. The pumpkin custard didn't set properly at that high temperature and was a bit like pie gravy that evening, but I can report that it set up quite nicely in the fridge and was perfectly wonderful for breakfast this morning...

Anyway, I think it was a highly successful (and delicious) first effort. I am thankful that I have a home to host the ones I love, and can cook them a delicious meal to show how much I love them and how lucky I am to have them in my life. I have so many things to be thankful for, I can hardly fit it all into one feast! I hope you and your loved ones have much to be thankful for and that you all savor a satisfying meal this Thursday. Don't burn your pies!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A very merry un-birthday!

Alice celebrated her six-month birthday on Saturday with solid food and a front tooth!

A week before she turned three months old, Alice got really fussy and started waking up at night unpredictably. The very day after she turned three months old, she completely shocked me and cut her first tooth (see this post for a refresher). Just over a week ago, we started seeing these same symptoms; unusual fussiness and unpredictable, prolonged night-waking. I thought it would be awfully unlikely that she'd get a new tooth exactly one day after this unbirthday, but lo-and-behold, I saw (and felt!) the first sharp bumps of her left front tooth first thing on Sunday morning. The extra nutrients from her measly few bites of solid food on Saturday must have been just enough fortification to force that little tooth through the gum.

And how did she enjoy her first tastes of food, you ask? Not so much, she answers, gagging dramatically... We hit the Burbank farmers market early on Saturday to select some delicious, in-season morsel to cook up for Alice and to get fresh produce for our early Thanksgiving feast on Sunday. I procured a lovely butternut squash, and prepared it to perfection. Unfortunately, Alice wasn't sold on the whole eating from a spoon thing. I think we'll backtrack and see if we can convince her with some nice, bland rice cereal.
At the farmers' market in the rain.
Come on, doesn't that look delicious??
Playing with her spoon. She has no idea what's coming...
I like the looks of pure, unadulterated disgust (left) and sheer horror (right). Like her mother, she eschews subtlety...
Looking pretty pleased with herself, even though she didn't finish her dinner...
I'll just keep cooking up delicious foods for her to sample, hopefully she finds her appetite for solids soon!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An afternoon treat

It's a little known fact that cartoon treats are the most delicious kind and I think these little felt delicacies will prove it. I happened across the etsy shop of lisajhoney and just had to share the sweet things she's selling.

Seriously, could these BE any more adorable?? They just shot to the top of the list of things Alice will need when she's big enough. I loved all manner of play food as a kid and think the toy box of any budding chef/gourmand/imagineer should be well-stocked with inedible edibles (even better if they're cooking in a DIY play kitchen!). These handmade, felted items seem like such a darling upgrade from the standard plastic variety. This creative crafter even sells patterns in her shop so the DIY-er can make her own flavors. Perhaps these should also top my list of sewing projects...

Anyway, I hope your eyes enjoyed feasting on these little treats, perhaps while you enjoyed a nice afternoon snack and cup of tea!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Terrifying Teenagers

Dear Alice,

You are never allowed to look like this:

Terrifying Teenager exhibit A: Taylor Momsen. Sweet Cindy Lou Who, all grown up.
I may have just cursed myself with the above statement, but good grief. I understand the whole angst-y teen thing, and I generally endorse the expression of individuality and the right to make statements with your hair and fashion, but this is a bit much for a 17 year-old, no? I'm sure I would have disagreed back when I was that age but hopefully I can use both my own angst-y past and more subdued, current style (let's call it "classic," instead of "boring" or "uninspired") to influence Alice's fashion statements in a classier direction than Ms. Momsen here. I'd love to avoid having this specific argument in about 16 years...

Seriously, though, I know it's only a matter of time before Alice starts to develop and assert her own sense of style. One of my goals as a mother is to nurture that individuality and help her explore and realize it. I love value fashion and think it can be a fun important tool in self-expression, within the realm of affordability and age-appropriateness. Another of my motherly goals is to learn to sew so I can make clothes for myself and Alice. I think that would be a valuable tool in my arsenal, expanding our creative options without breaking the bank.

As the mother of a daughter, I hope to be able to help Alice learn how to feel comfortable and confident in her skin and her clothes; how to carry and present herself to reflect externally, with integrity, the person she is internally. Regardless of how she develops, who she becomes, and what statements she wants to make, I hope I can teach her and lead her to do it with grace and class. I think this is something to strive for, both as a woman and a mother.

Until Alice can voice her opinion, I'm going to dress her as I see fit. That currently translates into cute, comfy, cuddly onesies and footed jammies (or stuffed animal outfits). When she can support and motivate herself under her own power, we'll progress to more Cabbage Patch Kid-esque ensembles. And when she starts to assert her own sense of style, you can bet that I'll be heavily involved. Mark my words, she will not go out of the house in anything resembling the horrors of Taylor Momsen's fashion archives. I don't know where that kid's mother is, but she is clearly not reading what the Fug Girls have to say about her daughter's outfits. She should be appalled, I know I would be...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baby's First Mickey Ears!

We took Alice to Disneyland for the first time over the weekend! For Christmas last year, Jon gave me a date for a trip to see the new World of Color show at California Adventure and a stay at the Grand Californian, with the caveat that we had to do it before the baby was 6 months old. We squeaked in just two weeks shy of the deadline and had a great little mini-break.

We planned to head down early on Saturday morning, play as much as possible until check-in, and then hang at the hotel for a bit before dinner and showtime. Despite starting our day at 6:30am, we didn't get to the parks until around 10:30am, so we didn't have quite as much playtime as I would have liked. I was also a little bummed to learn that it's not officially Christmas at the parks until the following weekend, and "it's a small world" was still getting decked for the holidays. Plus, since they were filming the Christmas parade the next day, the front of the castle was all blocked off. I had all these ideas of what Alice's first trip would be like and was kind of sad that we couldn't ride "small world" or take a photo in front of the castle. I had remind myself that we'll still get to celebrate all those first times, no matter which trip they happen on. I'll just have to remember to take the photos! 

Luckily, Snow White's Grotto was still accessible, so we were able to take some great castle photos after all.
Jon & his little princess
Our first stop was to visit Alice's old friend at the Mad Hatter Hat Shop for her first pair of Mickey ears. I was delighted to see that the hat on the sign EXACTLY matched the one Alice brought home!

Alice fell asleep while we waited for the Enchanted Tiki Room, and slept through most of the show. She woke up just in time to see the tikis play the drums and wasn't at all fazed by the thunder and lightning. She was also unafraid of the stretching elevator in the Haunted Mansion and craned her neck as far as she could to see Jack Skellington's frightful holiday decor. We all had lunch at the Golden Horseshoe Saloon and introduced Alice to one of our favorite gems, Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. She definitely enjoyed the music, the clapping, and the extravagant millinery of the "red hat" ladies sitting in front of us. She slept through our train ride but when the train broke down after only one stop, we decided to head to the hotel. 

After setting up the pack & play and pouring a glass of wine, we took advantage of the lovely afternoon light and had an impromptu photo shoot. If you're so inclined, you can see the full bounty in the baby photo gallery.

After the light faded, we dressed Alice in her cold weather bear suit and headed off to dinner. She's recently discovered how to fall asleep by herself and she thoughtfully practiced this new skill and took a nap while we enjoyed a really nice dinner at California Adventure's Golden Vine Trattoria before the World of Color show. Alice fell asleep while we were waiting for the show to start but woke up mid-way through and watched all the water and colors with eyes as big as saucers.

We've been eagerly awaiting this new spectacular since it was announced a few years ago, and the visuals did not disappoint. The water and color were absolutely breathtaking but I thought the story-telling and structure was a bit lacking. Overall, it just seemed a little disorganized with no real cohesive musical or thematic elements tying the segments together. I loved the World of Color theme and would have liked to see it used more creatively than a bookend. The show is definitely worth seeing though, and we enjoyed it a second time from our balcony where we could see the very top of the water over the trees in the distance. 

Before we headed home the next day, we decided to get a special souvenir for Alice. Jon wanted to get a stuffed Mickey to commemorate her first trip, but we couldn't decide which to get and wanted to see if Alice could break the tie. We held up a very sophisticated cable-knit black and white Steamboat Willie Mickey, a super-soft vintage-looking Mickey, and a very cute Pook-A-Looz Mickey. She was completely ambivalent about all three options, her expression did not change at all. Jon grabbed a nearby Minnie Mouse, just for comparison, and her little face completely lit up and her tiny hands immediately shot out toward it. We didn't need any more convincing and came home with the very first toy Alice picked out. I also couldn't resist the Alice in Wonderland Pook-A-Looz. I haven't been able to get a good photo of Alice with either her Minnie or her little namesake, but here's a little peek if you aren't familiar with the cute new Pook-A-Looz:

All in all, it was a great little trip and a great way to introduce Alice to Disneyland. I can't wait for our next visit! I'm pretty sure a Cheshire Cat and Queen of Hearts Pook-A-Looz will find their way home with us. Or maybe Santa will help unite those pals...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Baby-proofing and solid foods

So this parenting thing is getting serious, and I need some advice from those who have blazed these trails before us, both recently and maybe not-so-recently.

Alice isn't crawling yet, per se, but she is getting dangerously close. She's pretty much figured out how to pivot around in any direction and move forward in a complicated combination of scrunching, scooting, pulling, and squirming. Once she figures out how to coordinate her knees and elbows, there will be no stopping her. I've resigned myself, crawling is imminent. I'm sure it will happen within the month, but sometimes these things just click without warning. It could be a matter of days...

*Update: In between writing this yesterday and publishing this morning, Alice made significant crawling progress. In fact, Jon reports that Alice maneuvered across the living room yesterday in a fairly coordinated effort of knees and elbows. No straight arms yet, but that's kind of splitting hairs at this point.

The other day, she was scooting around on the floor and extended her tiny hand in her particularly delicate, deliberate, exploratory fashion right toward the electrical outlet. We were watching her closely, of course, and she can't reach it while she's still grounded by her elbows, but still. Baby-proofing is clearly required immediately. 

Also, after her 6-month well-baby appointment in a few weeks, we'll start introducing solid foods. Aside from a few baby food cookbooks and a food mill, we are completely unprepared for this.

I am planning to cook most or all of Alice's food, except probably rice cereal. I know I don't need any fancy paraphernalia to do this, but I bet there are some great things out there that parents would tell me they couldn't get through baby mealtime without. I have my eye on a few things, like this:

Alice also needs a seat at the table. I've been shopping for high chairs since before she was born but keep getting discouraged with the crappy options and give up before I make any progress. I don't know why there aren't more appealing affordable options in the baby gear arena. Yes, there is a ton of awesome, stylish, high-concept/high-design gear, with outrageous price tags to match. I firmly believe that good taste does not have to cost any more than bad taste, but baby product manufacturers clearly do not agree.

We have a small house with little to no storage. If I can't stash this stuff away when we aren't using it, I don't want it to take up any more room than necessary, compete with my decor, or give me a headache to look at or listen to. I don't think that's too much to ask. I don't know who Fisher Price & Graco design for, but I have news for them: BABIES DON'T BUY THEIR OWN STUFF. Parents make the purchases and I bet that, if they had the option, most would choose something timeless, neutral and reusable that compliments their general style. Garish colors and tacky cartoon prints are not "visually stimulating," they are ugly and annoying more often than not. Plus, it's virtually impossible to get everything you might need in styles and designs that even coordinate, let alone match each other.

OK, I'm done ranting, but I would like to find a high chair that is safe, functional, practical, easy to clean and care for, not enormous, and reasonably not-ugly. Based on what I've seen and read so far, two of the current front-runners are:

The Valco Astro (left) folds down flat into the shape of the bottom footprint, only 6.7" high. That would be easy to slide under or next to our coffee console, or somewhere in the laundry room. The Fisher Price Space Saver (right) would not be easy to stash away if our seats are all full of adults, but that doesn't happen very often.

I'm very interested in the new Baby Bjorn high chair, but it is currently only available in Europe. One drawback I can see already is that because it uses the "fold-down table" as the restraint system, the tray can't be removed to transition the chair to the table. That's not a deal breaker for me, I'm not opposed to graduating to a booster seat, but it would be nice to get as many years as possible out of a pricey piece of gear. The molded seat is so appealing to me, I'd seriously consider soliciting a European to export one for me...  

My mom said she loved the seat she used for my brother that attached to the table, but our brand new dining table scratches very easily (which we didn't discover until it was at our house), so I'd rather not destroy it prematurely. It seems like a lot of people just go with the $20 "Antilop" from Ikea because it's good enough and the price is right, but I'd prefer something with a tray, at least until Alice is old enough to use a booster seat not throw her food and utensils everywhere (see delicate table finish, above).

So anyway, for all you parents out there who have already done all the research and trial & error on feeding a human child and protecting them from hidden household dangers, I need your advice. Please answer the following, using complete sentences (don't forget to show your work!):

  1. What high chair do you have? Do you like it? Why or why not?
  2. What spoons/bowls/baby food storage containers do you use/recommend?
  3. If you make your own baby food, do you have any great tips?
Please fill in the blanks:
  1. The feeding/baby-proofing (other) gear I couldn't live without is ___.
  2. The thing I wished I'd known when I was ___ is ____.
  3. If I had to do ___ again, I would make sure to ___.
  4. When you are buying ___, make sure it does/has ___.
  5. When you are ___, make sure to ___.
  6. When you are ___, you will definitely need ___.

Monday, November 1, 2010

First Halloween!

We had lots of fun celebrating Alice's first Halloween over the weekend, complete with  some of my favorite traditions. I love traditions, especially ones unique to your family, and especially ones associated with a holiday. For me, traditions are what define the holidays and how they feel. It's what I look forward to all year, and my celebrations just don't feel right or complete if all my favorite traditional pieces aren't there. 

We kicked off our celebration on Friday when Jon and Alice visited my office during our Halloween festivities. When I was trying to decide on Alice's first costume, I figured she should probably give a shout out to the Hundred Acre Wood. Unfortunately, all the real Disney Winnie The Pooh costumes are for 12 months and up and 6-12 month clothes are still pretty big on my skinny minnie. When I found this little kangaroo costume, I thought it would be perfect Kanga & Roo costume, and I just knew that Jon and I would have to dress up to match. 

A little Kanga & Roo
I sewed a little blue shirt for Kanga's little Roo puppet, and we found the perfect pieces to turn ourselves into Christopher Robin and Piglet. And of course, Balloon had to tag along! 

On Halloween, we started the day with pumpkin bread and Trader Joe's gingerbread coffee and then headed up to Santa Clarita to check out the Lombardi Ranch pumpkin patch. With TONS of pumpkins, a maize maze, Scarecrow Alley in the middle of a sunflower field, a hayride, live music, petting zoo, hay bales, and sno cones, it was well worth the drive. Although I missed tromping around in the furrows of an actual patch, it was a convincing approximation and highly preferable to getting a pumpkin from the grocery store or parking lot "patch." Alice checked it all out and I think she approved of everything except sitting amongst the pumpkins with her bare toes touching the dirt and hay floor. She was much happier to sit on dad's lap for the obligatory photo with softly out-of-focus pumpkins in the background...

After we got home, I scrambled around in the kitchen to roast my very first butternut squash (for a new recipe I'm trying out for lunch this week - I'm excited and nervous to taste it today, I hope it's delicious enough to blog about!), cook dinner, and carve a pumpkin. Growing up, part of our family's Halloween tradition was to have mac & cheese for dinner before trick-or-treating. I think this became a tradition by accident when my mom tried to fix a quick dinner that we would actually sit down and eat in all the chaos of costuming and anticipation of candy. The next year I probably said, "but we ALWAYS have mac & cheese on Halloween!" Sadly, I could not make mac & cheese this year, since Alice has me on a completely dairy-free diet, so we decided on jambalaya instead. While it's not quite as quick and easy as mac & cheese, it's perfect for the weather and seems like a great way to fill little bellies before they eat themselves into a sugar coma. I followed this recipe, more or less, and it was a great first effort. I can see this dish becoming a new tradition in our house, kicking off the fall/winter holidays at Halloween, and then closing them out at New Year's.

dress in style and go hog wild, me oh my oh...
After dinner, we settled in to watch "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," and hand out candy to the paltry few trick-or-treaters on our street. Although I would have liked to see more little boys and ghouls, we were able to shut off the porchlight without hordes of candy-crazed kids knocking down our doors. In fact, we were able to go to bed at 8:30 as per usual without hearing any more little feet on our street, which helped alleviate my guilt at having a half-full bowl of candy in the house... All-in-all, it was a great holiday, just the way I like it, and I can't wait to continue the traditions next year!

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baby Birthday Buddies!

In addition to her darling cousin Anelie (four days older), I just found out that Alice has another awesome birthday buddy! This giant baby (288 pounds) was born at the Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World not many hours after my little baby was born on May 20. Maybe someday Alice will get to see the lovely Luna in person! We'd love to take a trip out to WDW in the next few years, we'll have to make a point to find her pal and maybe even get a photo of the two cuties together.
Mama Donna & Baby Luna

You can read all about it here:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Baby Gap Baby

I'm only a little embarrassed to admit that I entered Alice in the Baby Gap Casting Call photo contest. The contest information says to submit a photo of your kid in their favorite jeans. Alice didn't have any jeans yet, so naturally, I had to buy her first pair of denim overalls and have a photo shoot. I am NOT embarrassed that I completely bought into their scheme to get me to spend money at their store...

baby's first jeans
I don't really want Alice to be a child actress or model, but come on, she's cute. If Gap thinks she's cute enough to sell baby jeans on their ads and billboards and store windows, I'd be OK with it. I'd also be OK with the $1000 gift card. I think that would outfit Alice well into elementary school...

Doesn't this face make you want to buy baby jeans?? 
I feel weird soliciting votes to make her the "fan favorite," because I'd basically be asking you to vote so I can win a gift card and that's just annoying. And there's clearly no way that anyone is going to outvote this kid. But, listen. I'm not going to stop you if you want to vote (daily) that Alice is the cutest kid you've ever seen in her first pair of baby jeans...

Cast a vote here (or here, or here - OK, I entered her 5 times, jeez):

First Date

All fancied up at the Chinese Theater
A few weekends ago, Jon and I had our first, real post-baby date. We left the house together and went to the same place together, without a baby, for the first time in five months. It was great. Weird, but great.

We left Alice at home with my mom and dad and headed off to Hollywood to attend the crew screening and wrap party for Disney's 50th animated feature, "Tangled." It is a great film, and a wonderful artistic achievement. The animation and artistry are fantastic, and the characters are wonderfully charming (especially the silent sidekicks). You should all see it with your families when it hits theaters this Thanksgiving! 

I had to call home immediately after the movie, though, what with all the onscreen baby-napping and mother/daughter drama. Luckily, Alice had gone to bed before our party even started, so we played worry-free WAY past our bedtime until I was too tired to go on.

We're going to plan some stay-at-home movie date nights until we get the urge (or a good reason) to go out again!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I gave birth to myself

Most people who meet Alice comment on how much she looks like me. And how much hair she has, and had when she was born. Alice definitely takes after me, but it still surprises me that it's so obvious even to people who haven't seen my baby photos. Because if you've seen my baby photos, well, it's a little frightening how MUCH she looks like me. It's almost as though I gave birth to myself. Here's a little side-by-side action:

            Left: my first day home from the hospital.               Right: Alice's first night in the hospital.


         Left: my first day home from the hospital.            Right: Alice's first day home from the hospital.

I'm starting to see evidence of Jon's genetic contribution but I can't quite put my finger on exactly what it is I'm seeing. I can't wait to watch Alice grow, and to see how she reflects us both (in nature and nurture) and develops into her own little person.