Monday, December 28, 2009

Emily's First Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas here in Philadelphia. The Groves family tradition is to have a nice dinner on Christmas Eve (delicious steak, creamed onions, red wine...mmmm.). We kept Emily up late to attend the New Life Christmas Eve Service, which is one of my favorites. Christmas carols, readings and a beautiful message from Doug Green about the incarnation of Christ. Emily even made an on-stage appearance to do a reading with Granny & the rest of the family, and contributed some of her trademark "growls" for the microphone.

Christmas morning we had a little family time at our house, and then headed to Heather Lane for the rest of the day, which was mostly spent sitting around the living room with Emily at the center of things. We helped her open presents (of course the wrapping paper was a big hit) and she was happy to have the attention of so many grown ups all day. I think we heard her first few babbles - some "bababa" mixed in with the growls. Overall, it was just nice to have an entire day to spend together, opening presents, playing games, watching a movie, and just talking. After all the excitement, Emily slept for a record ten straight hours that night!

I have to post a picture of Becky's annual theme-wrapped presents. Check out the December album for a few more pictures, including Eowyn & Mom Groves in wigs, and Alden, Alasdair & I wearing footie pj's. :)

Now we are spending a few days getting things done around the house, doing some necessary shopping (including a new carseat for Emily since we are thinking it might be time for her to move on from the infant carseat...yikes!) & getting ready for the next adventure: a drive to Georgia for our annual New Year's Reunion with college friends. We are so blessed!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Last weekend we brought Emily to Marco Island, Florida to introduce her to some of Alasdair's extended family. Emily did GREAT on the plane, slept well while we were there (despite cutting her first tooth!), and was generally just very happy to meet her Great Grandparents Groves, Uncle Bryan & Aunt Michelle, Aunt Jill, and cousins Megan, Alexa, Dalton, and Taylor, as well as cousins Dan & Jesse who were visiting from CA at the same time. Alexa (4 years old) was especially excited about "baby Emily" and spent as much time as possible playing with, holding, "helping" bathe & feed, and otherwise entertaining her. Emily seemed to return the love, and gave Alexa her biggest smiles & laughs.

I barely have any pictures, which I think is either because we were mostly taking video (maybe someday I'll figure out how to post video here) or because we had a professional photographer present (Jesse did take some shots of Emily for us). Here's one of Alasdair with Alexa & Emily. Note that he is playing cards at the same time: there was a game of pinochle (the Groves family favorite) going just about 24/7. Not pictured, but also always present: Dr. Pepper & Fritos. :) The time there was too short as always, but it was great to spend the time we had with family that we see too rarely!

Oh, and I'll also mention that Philadelphia got over a foot & a half of snow while we were gone. It made us sad to miss it, but we were VERY grateful that ours was late enough that it was not among the many canceled flights (and that our initial 6 hour delay was shortened to only one). Here's Emily looking out at our winter wonderland.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Tree

We attempted a little family photo shoot by the Christmas tree last week. The pictures of just Emily are the best, of course. :)

A few more here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Front Window

Our cats spend a lot of their time sitting by the front window and yesterday Emily joined them for awhile. With the radiator (safely covered) right there to keep warm, and lots of interesting things to look at outside, it's a nice place to sit.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Things we're into, early December edition...


Emily's current favorite toy is a clementime. It's just the right size for her little hands and soft enough that she can grip in. Unfortunately, it also rolls away!

Bath toys!!

Emily received these fun bath toys from Uncle Mike & Auntie Bekah for Christmas, and she will sit in her tub and play with them for as long as I let her. Not surprisingly, her favorite is the orange one that resembles a clementine.

Bundling up!!

Well, I'm not sure how "into it" Emily is... but now that the temperature has dropped, I've gone back to bundling Emily up for our walks. She must feel cozy, because she still falls asleep! Actually, she seems more likely to fall asleep in the carseat now that we've added the "bundleme."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

First Snow!

We'd been looking forward to getting our Christmas tree this past Saturday. Just as we were getting ready to go, it started snowing! We took Emily out on the porch and she was very interested in this new phenomenon. We decided to brave the elements and pick out our tree as quickly as we could! The shivering tree-stand employee was amazed & thrilled that we would take the first tree he showed us. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happy Chaos

I've been referring to our Thanksgiving as 'happy chaos'. We had a wonderful time with my family. Thanks to Uncle Nick being in Philly the weekend before, Emily & I were able to be there for a whole week (Alasdair came up a few days later) and had a couple quiet days before the big events began. We spent an evening with just my dad & a day with just my mom. Stocked up on winter clothes for Emi. Played with cousin Rosalie. Took advantage of extra hands to hold the baby and went running. Made pretty baby hair clips. Dressed the girls in matching outfits and enjoyed watching Emily start to hold her own in cousins photo shoots.

The night before Thanksgiving, I got a phone call from some of our best friends who just happened to be stuck at Logan Airport & needed a place to stay that night. We were thrilled, since they live in GA & have a 6 week old we hadn't met yet! So, thought there was technically 'no room in the in' (my parents, plus our family of 3 in my old room, Mike's family of 3 in his, a friend of M&B's in Nick's room, and Nick in the den) ... we made up some beds in the rec room and were SO glad to see Dave & Virginia and meet baby Hannah Snow. It was especially fun for us to have Rosalie, Emily & Hannah in the same place, since they are all exactly 4 months apart. Seeing the three of them side by side we were amazed at how close Emily (5.5 mo) looked to Rosalie (9.5 mo) and how BIG she looked next to Hannah (1.5 mo).

Thanksgiving day: the traditional WA high school football game (which we won in dramatic OT fashion!) and dinner with Auntie Cindy, Uncle Jim, Stephen & Amanda. That night we took a quick jaunt out to Sunny Hill to be with my dad's entire side of the family for a complete family photo with all the new spouses & babies. (Of course the photo wasn't entirely complete - we missed Grampy a lot... but know he watched & took great joy in the occasion.)
Friday after Thanksgiving: the annual church soccer game, always a blast. M&B and A&I were all able to play thanks to the babysitting services of my mom & Uncle Nick. The Ware family came back to our house for pulled pork sandwiches & Nertz. Brief but nice visit from my cousin Dianna & her boyfriend Kevin.
Saturday: Surprise 80th birthday brunch for Granny Ware. More family time. :)

Then, a little bit of relaxing and Emily's first visit to the church I grew up in, and we headed for home first thing Monday morning. A very full and very lovely Thanksgiving.


Getting caught up on the things I should have posted about in November... The weekend before Thanksgiving, my brother Nick came down to run the Philadelphia Marathon (his 6th marathon, I think). It was fun for us to have him here all weekend - and I admit, we did put him to work helping move furniture on Saturday, probably not the best pre-Marathon activity! - and really fun to get out & experience the Philly Marathon as spectators. It was a beautiful day, Emily cooperated well, and due to the very spectator-friendly course, we were able to see Nick at multiple places along the route. Note the Art Museum in the background as Nick crosses the finish line.

(her shirt says "I'm cheering for Uncle Nick!")

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

So many posts, so little time

There are so many things I should post about from the last couple weeks: Uncle Nick's visit & marathon, Thanksgiving, meeting Hannah McCune... I'll get to them eventually, but right now I am so tired I'm just going to put up one picture from today.

I did add a bunch of pictures to our November album, and even started one for December (it's December...yikes!) Most of the pictures from Thanksgiving are on my dad's camera, so I'll get more up once I get access to them.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things we are into

Has it really been two weeks since I last posted? Life has been a bit of a blur. We spent all of last weekend at CCEF's annual conference. (CCEF is the counseling center where Alasdair works, and of which we are planning to open an affiliate office in New England...stay tuned.) It was really energizing for me to be able to be a part of things. Emily did a great job; we took turns carrying her in the ergo & were both able to participate.

I thought I'd post a few things we are into lately. Emily is into ....sitting up on her own(!) ... least for short intervals...

....and sucking on her lower lip...

Mommy is into... the crockpot! Late afternoon is my hardest time to get anything done, and it's really hard to motivate to cook when Alasdair isn't home for dinner. But with the crockpot I can prepare dinner during Emily's morning nap, it's ready to eat at dinnertime, and easy to reheat for later in the week. Thanks to facebook, I found a great crockpot recipe blog. The intensive week-long class Alasdair has been running ends today, so I'm making this for tonight - and of course we'll have to have margaritas since I opened the bottle of mix.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Emily has discovered the cats and loves to watch them. Sometimes I can coax one of them to stay nearby long enough for Emi to "pet" her. I'm glad Syntax & Blaise are so good-natured!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Playing Outside

If you know me, you know that I hate to be inside all day! So, when we don't have time to go on our lovely long walks, I've been bundling Emily up to play on the front porch. Here are a few recent shots.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Emily was having a bad hair day yesterday, so I tried putting a clip in her hair for the first time. Isn't she beautiful?

Today she had her "4 month" checkup & shots (a little late since she is closer to 5 months now!), and it went soo much better than last time. She cried for just a minute after the shots, and has been fine the rest of the day. She's still in the 90th percentile for weight & height: 16lbs10oz & 26". The doctor suggested starting her on some cereal & fruits, but I'm not sure I want to do solids quite yet...

Oh, and speaking of solids, I had a neat neighborhood interaction last week. We buy our deli meats at the little store on the corner of our block. When I was working full time, I'd always be running in just when David was trying to close up the deli counter, so I was pretty sure I wasn't his favorite customer. Last Thursday though he asked me if Emily had starting eating food yet, because his family had about 30 jars of baby food that granddaughter wasn't eating anymore, and he wanted to give it to me! So now we have a nice stash of food for whenever we do start, and I feel like I have a new friend. I'm planning to bring him some pumpkin bread as soon as I can get around to making it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Play Date

We spent Saturday evening with our good friends Erik & Amanda & their baby girl Madda. We dressed the girls up to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, and cooked ballpark food (sausages, nachos & Phillies Graham Slam ice cream) in honor of the Phillies World Series game. Emily started out the evening in her glow-in-the-dark skeleton onesie from Juanita and then since Madda's pumpkin costume was too big for her, we put it on Emi.

Here are the girls "playing together" with Emily's toys. A great time all around. More pictures in the October album.

So much for normal...

This post will probably be very rambl-y because I only have a couple minutes. I almost titled it "I don't think I'm cut out for this!" I posted a month or so ago about re-engaging with life and developing a sense of normalcy. That went swimmingly for about two weeks! Then... Emily got sick & stopped sleeping well. Then she seemed to be teething. Then it seemed like a growth spurt... and we traveled every weekend... and somehow all of October is gone & we seem to have lost the knack of this! Just like all the veteran moms told me - just when you think you have something figured out, it all changes. I had started going back to the gym, but with Emi being sick & then only having one car for awhile, that stopped. Now since Emily stopped sleeping well, we've being working on getting her on a schedule & she goes to bed earlier soI've had to give up Women's Bible Study (WBS) for awhile. Bah. Add in the sleep deprivation & it's been discouraging! I crashed pretty hard yesterday. Life always looks a little brighter in the morning (at least while Emily is napping!:) and I'm encouraged by doing what I can of WBS at home (fighting hard to stay focused & ignore the urge to run & clean the kitchen while Emily is sleeping and praying that God will give me HIS vision for my life, that I will own the words of the hymn "Be Thou My Vision" that I sing to Emily so often...) and my reading the blog of another mom-friend reminding me that this is "challenging" not "impossible" and we are given grace for the moment. Mmm, that's been hard to remember!

On a brighter note - once I get the pictures off the camera, I'll post about Emily's Halloween play date.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nose Gnawing

I don't have a picture to go along with this*, but it's been making us laugh so I wanted to record it. Lately, Emily has wanted to put everything in her mouth, including us. She's not crazy about her pacifier unless she's really sleepy, but she'll suck or chew on our fingers. When I put her up to my shoulder to burp her, she's started grabbing the hair on both sides of my head and pulling it around so that she can gnaw desperately on my nose. It makes me laugh every time. Last night she was taking awhile to settle down for bed, wouldn't nurse or take the pacifier, but was happy sucking on my chin!
(*I finally uploaded a picture.)

Monday, October 26, 2009


We made our longest trip yet this weekend -- out to Ohio to visit Eowyn for family weekend at the College of Wooster. So fun to see her in her element on this beautiful campus and meet some of the great friends she has made so far. Luckily, we were able to stay in a hotel within walking distance of campus, so Emily could take naps but still join in some of the fun. I wish I had a picture of Eowyn in her marching band uniform (she plays the cymbals & wears a bright yellow kilt). We watched her perform at the football game on Saturday, and had dinner with a bunch of her friends & their families that night. Here is the one picture I managed to get on our camera.

One the way out, we were able to stop & have dinner with our good friends the Mosers, who led our small group for the first few years we were in Philly and live right near Wooster. We miss their friendship & board-gaming skills! Their youngest, Mary, is almost 3 and was very excited about playing with Emily. I thought this picture looked old fashioned since they were both so serious.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jackie C's Wedding

I took Emily to her first wedding this past weekend. Katie & I drove up to MA together, where Jua joined us to spend the weekend at my parents' house & to attend Jackie & Brendan's wedding. It was so nice to have K&J to help me with Emily since Alasdair couldn't come! The church was beautiful, the ceremony was sweet, and the reception was a fun time of catching up with a lot of people I hadn't seen in awhile (including Laura who flew home early from Europe to be there, and her boyfriend Paris who I hadn't had a chance to meet yet!) . Good combination! Emily was quiet through the whole ceremony and did a good job meeting lots of new people in a noisy place. She stayed with me at the reception for a little while, until Grampy & Grammy Ware came to pick her up & take her to visit GG & Great Grampy T. (She is quite the social butterfly.) Overall I think it was one of Emily's best weekends of traveling, despite the fact that she barely slept both nights! We are hoping for better things in that department as we head to OH next weekend. In the meantime we've been working on getting her on a better schedule.

I didn't take a single picture this weekend, but here are a few from other people...

Juanita & Emily

Emily & I with Laurie Wadsworth, a friend of my in-laws from their Dartmouth Christian Fellowship days

Dartmouth girls with the Bride

Monday, October 12, 2009

Another Crazy Weekend

Our schedule was supposed to get less crazy after baby arrived, wasn't it? Oh well, despite some exhaustion (my wonderful sleeping baby has had a cold this week, and not slept much more than a couple hours at a time at night!), we had a fun weekend. On Saturday we participated in the Dartmouth Outing Club's attempt to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one day. Along with some other good friends & Dartmouth alums, we hiked the last 7 miles of the Pennsylvania AT. It was a pretty easy hike, but perfect for our first time hiking with Emily and a perfect way to catch up with friends (Stu & Sarah have recently moved back to the East Coast after spending a couple years in Rwanda, so there is lots to catch up on!). The weather even cooperated and we got some great views.

That night we got home just in time to shower before my cousin Angie & her new husband Rand came over for dinner. They were in Philly for the weekend and we really enjoyed getting to spend some time with just them outside of a chaotic family gathering.

Sunday Alasdair went to an Eagles game with Alden, Becky & a good family friend who takes them every year. Such a fun tradition. I stayed home and listened to the Sox lose a heartbreaking game 3 to the Angels. :( Later Mike & Heather (more college friends who now live in UT & were on the East Coast visiting family) and the Leanders came over for dinner. It's amazing how spending time with Dartmouth people just sort of feels like home!